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Granite Ghost – Revisited

August 6, 2012

As the monsoons blow through Kerala, the native dragonfly and damselfly populations in the area appear to wax and wane along with the water levels. A sunny day by any water body guarantees sighting at least one species, but as is only so common during the season, overcast days dominate the calendar. Nevertheless, Kerala’s entomological biodiversity remains  as strong as the summers, during which dozens of Odonate species whizz back and forth teritorially over their little stretch of pond-shore or riverbank.  The main reason that these insects are not out in force as frequently as the rest of the year is that they are most active in hot and dry climates, particularly in direct sunlight. Contrarily, monsoons traditionally offer respite to natives, being wet and (slightly) cooling. When they’re not visibly hunting or mating, dragonfly and damselfly populations are probably strongest in the larval stage – extraordinarily aggressive aquatic predators. I got lucky a few days ago on a sunny day on the backwaters when I saw a Granite Ghost – in my books a rarer species of dragonfly that I’ve only sighted once in Goa.

The very fact that I saw the specimen was sheer chance, as I happened to be looking out the window when it flew past. I was fortunate to have my telephoto lens on hand – and that the window was high enough that it was relatively safe to hang out of it and shoot. Although there are still a few Kerala species I haven’t been able to see in my time here, I have a feeling they’ll still be around in the next few years.

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