In a remarkable discovery that sheds light on the critical state of our planet’s ecosystems, MIT-WPU researchers have unearthed a new damselfly species, the ‘Armageddon Reedtail –Protosticta Armageddonia.‘ This new species, with its ominous moniker, serves as a stark reminder of the ecological crisis our world faces due to rampant habitat loss and climate change. Experts are using this discovery as a powerful call to action for world leaders, urging them to address the urgent issues of global warming and their catastrophic impact on biodiversity.
The revelation of this newfound species has been officially documented in the International Journal of Odonatology, a publication affiliated with the Worldwide Dragonfly Association based in the United States. Furthermore, the discovery has been meticulously recorded and registered with the Zoological Survey of India, Pune office, underscoring its significance in the scientific community.
The researcher team comprising of Dr. Pankaj Koparde, Assistant Professor, Department of Environmental Studies at MIT-WPU, Arajush Payra, a dedicated PhD Scholar at MIT-WPU, Ameya Deshpande, an MSc Environmental Science Student at MIT-WPU, and the Reji Chandran, a seasoned Wildlife Photographer hailing from Kerala, played a pivotal role in this momentous achievement.
The newfound species exhibits a captivating dark brown to black body with vibrant greenish-blue eyes, and it features delicate pale blue markings on half of its eight abdominal segments. Its exclusive habitat choice is primary montane streams, where it thrives beneath dense canopy cover. The name Armageddon Reedtail is a direct reference to the concept of “Ecological Armageddon,” a term used to describe the devastating decline of insect populations around the world. This phenomenon, often referred to as the “Insect Apocalypse,” has far-reaching consequences for entire ecosystems, as insects play crucial roles in pollination, nutrient cycling, and as a food source for other animals.
Dr. Pankaj Koparde, Lead Researcher for the Armageddon Reedtail discovery, underscores the gravity: “The naming of this new species is not merely an academic exercise; it’s a desperate plea for attention. Just as this species faces the threat of extinction due to habitat loss and changing environmental conditions, countless other endemic and endangered insects are on the brink of vanishing forever. We are standing on the precipice of an ecological catastrophe, and urgent action is needed to reverse this course. We need a collaborative effort involving scientists, conservationists, policymakers, and the public to combat climate change and protect our planet’s biodiversity.”
“The new Protosticta species is different from its congeners based on various morphological features. Keying it out was a difficult task but we now have a clarity about its taxonomy. I believe that our discovery will be a milestone in Indian odonatology,” concluded Arajush Payra, PhD Scholar, MIT-WPU, entomologist and lead author.
The full paper is available here: https://doi.org/10.48156/1388.2023.1917043