Tales fresh from the field – news of the rediscovery of Gomphidia leonorae Mitra, 1994, a large dragonfly in Burdwan has the odonatologists in a tizzy.
It was 30th of May, 2017, when I and my co-discoverer Subhajit Roy, were roaming near river bed of Damodar (West Burdwan, West Bengal) near Durgapur Barrage lock gate area. I noticed a big sized dragonfly sitting on a stick and called out to Subhajit hurriedly. “Look at this one… it may be something new” I had excitedly told my friend. On 18th July, 2018, more than a year from that day, it declared as a new species by eminent odonatalogist Sri K. A. Subramanian. For the past one year we have been struggling to establish our truth that a new species of Gomphidae family found from West Burdwan. The species is Gomphidia leonorae Mitra, 1994 and this is the second time,after a long duration of 23 years or more,when this particular species has been recorded from India. It was found first from Susunia Hill, West Bengal in 1994 by legendary odonatalogist Late Tridib Ranjan Mitra (Observation on the habits and habitats of adult dragonflies of India, with special reference to the fauna of West Bengal. Rec. zool. Surv. India (Occ. Pap.) 166: 1-40). In his paper published in 1994, Mitra shows the last part of abdomen and head of a female species which fit accurately with our observations of the female species we found. In his paper ‘Endemic Odonata of India. Rec. zool. India 100(3/4): 189-199’ in the year 2002(b), Mitra again mentions about his observation of Gomphidia leonorae (named after senior odonatologist Mrs. Dr. Leonora K. Gloyd). It is a big sized dragonfly (female 57mm, male 47mm) with a unique pattern on its abdominal segments. International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources declare it ‘data deficient’ in their assessment section. Only two females of the species have been observed from 1994 to 2018 and no male species have yet been discovered. The range extended from Susunia Hill, Bankura, West Bengal (23.3951° N, 86.9874° E) to Durgapur Barrage, West Burdwan, and West Bengal (23.4754°N 87.3023°E).
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