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Odonata Naiads of Potohar Plateau, Punjab, Pakistan.

Byline: Amad Ud Din, Ahmed Zia, Abdul Rauf Bhatti and Muhammad Nisar Khan

Abstract:- A series of collection surveys conducted during two consecutive years (2011-12) to explore Odonata naiads of Potohar plateau revealed 34 species under 6 families and 21 genera. Specimens were collected from different aquatic habitats that include almost all sort of waters including static, flowing, acidic, alkaline, brackish or saline. Details showing valid names, collection localities, ecological observations, number of individual male/female collected are provided for each species.

Keywords: Odonata, naiads, Potohar plateau, dragonflies, damselflies.


Odonata, an order of flying insects, includes dragonflies and damselflies. They are medium to large sized insects and are amongst most ancient flying insects (Rehen, 2001). Their immatures are aquatic and can be found in flowing as well as in stagnant water bodies. Some species are narrow in their needs but others are generalists and can reside in almost all sort of water, whether acidic, alkaline, brackish or saline. Few prefer to live in running water, however, others prefer still water, marshes and bogs (Zia, 2010).

Naiads possess specialized labium for capturing their prey from distance (Elzinga, 1981). They popularly consume protozoans, minute crustaceans, mosquito larvae and adults, small fishes and tad poles (Boyd, 2005; Irshad, 2008; Din, 2012, Hinman, 1934a,b). Larvae have been released under many projects in domestic water storage tanks to suppress the development of disease carrying mosquitoes (Silsby, 2001). Feeding of Odonata naiads at mosquito larvae highlighted their use in dengue, malaria, yellow fever, vector control program.

Taxonomic studies on Odonata naiads are badly ignored in Pakistan. Past studies are mainly focused on adults of Odonata and work done on their naiads is negligible, yet only few records are available up till now (Din, 2012). Keeping in view the lapses of previous studies, it was planned to conduct thorough surveys of Potohar plateau (Punjab province) to explore Odonata naiads fauna of this versatile plateau of the country.


Collection surveys were carried out in following localities of four districts of Potohar plateau.

1. District Chakwal: Peer Nara (L1), Wallana Dam (L2), Ghurab Dam (L3), Kattas (L4), Choa Saiydan Shah (L5), Bhurpur (L6), Chakwal (L7).

2. District Attock: Fateh Jang (L8), Kheri moorat (L9), Qutbaal (L10), Taja Bara (L11), Shahpur dam (L12).

3. District Rawalpindi: Kahuta (L13), Tallain (L14), Simly dam (L15), Barakahu (L16), Shadran (L17), Murree (L18), Chakian (L19), Jatllan (L20), Dhoke Saidaan (L21), Pind bhagwal (L22), Athal colony (L23), Lake view park (L24), Ayub park (L25).

4. District Jhelum: Deena (L26), Jhelum city (L27), Mangla (L28).

Naiads were collected between 0800hrs to 1900hrs and were placed in glass vials with 95% alcohol, then were shifted to 70% alcohol with a few drops of glycerin added to it to avoid desiccation.

Naiads were identified under stereoscope following Musser (1962), Anjum (1997), Chishti (1988), Hussain (1988), Khaliq et al. (1994a,b, 1995), Yousuf et al. (1995,1996), Bouchard (2004) and Subramanian (2005).


Collection surveys yielded a total number of 152 specimens comprising 34 species in 21 genera and six families (Table I). Out of total explored species, Crocothemis erythraea and Pantala flavescens were found dominant and abundant in the plateau thereby representing maximum number of specimens and found in variable habitats ranging from slow moving water to stagnant water of ponds. Maximum species richness was found in district Chakwal representing 17 species out of total 21 species. Possible reason for this richness is that district Chakwal has a complex of agronomic crops grown herein as compared to other districts of plateau (Zia et al., 2010) and being a predator of crop pests like aphid, jassids etc., Odonata prefers to visit crop fields for its host search. Also Chakwal district possesses a wide range of aquatic habitats (including ponds, basin, lakes, streams, rivers and springs) that are common breeding spots for many odonate species.

Studies on taxonomic distribution of Odonata naiads in Pakistan have rarely been carried out in the past. Yet, lot of faunistic studies have been conducted recording species diversity of adult odonates. It is also important to document that being flying insects, odonates are known to fly long distances in search of food and ideal ecological conditions especially for temperature and humidity preferences. Reporting species diversity for Odonata of any area based on the collection of adults, arises doubts on their endemism (Zia et al., 2011). Actual species composition for Odonata of an area cannot be claimed until and unless their naiads are collected from that particular area. Present study is an attempt to fill this gap.

Potohar was chosen as target area because of its versatility in climate as well as ecology. It is a plateau that comes under Punjab province and western parts of Azad Jammu and Kashmir thereby representing Oriental as well as Palearctic fauna. It has three major seasons i.e., hot weather that prevails from the month of April to June with a temperature of 110oF max; rainy season that is spread over months of July to September with an annual average rainfall between 96 cm, and cold weather prevails during the months of October to March, when temperature falls to 40oF maximum (Umair et al., 2012). Also here is found variety of aquatic habitats ranging from natural springs to stagnant ponds, lakes, streams, dams and perennial rivers. All these climatic conditions, aquatic habitats and temperature ranges are ideal for lot of Odonata species which highlights the possibility of more species diversity inhabiting this plateau, yet to be explored.


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Author:Din, Amad Ud; Zia, Ahmed; Bhatti, Abdul Rauf; Khan, Muhammad Nisar
Publication:Pakistan Journal of Zoology
Article Type:Report
Geographic Code:9PAKI
Date:Jun 30, 2013
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