Journal of Threatened Taxa | | 26 January 2017 | 9(1): 9743–9747





Bibliography and checklist of the dragonflies and damselflies of Bhutan

T. Gyeltshen 1, T. Nidup 2, P. Dorji 3, T. Dorji 4 & V.J. Kalkman 5

1,2,3 School of Life Sciences, Sherubtse College, Kanglung, Bhutan

4 Department of Forestry, College of Natural Resources, Lobesa, Bhutan

5 Naturalis Biodiversity Center, P.O. Box 9517, 2300 RA Leiden, The Netherlands

1 (corresponding author), 2, 3, 4, 5




doi: | ZooBank:


Editor: Rory A. Dow, Naturalis Biodiversity Center, Leiden, The Netherlands. Date of publication: 26 January 2017 (online & print)


Manuscript details: Ms # 2758 | Received 27 April 2016 | Final received 23 November 2016 | Finally accepted 02 January 2017


Citation: Gyeltshen, T., T. Nidup, P. Dorji, T. Dorji & V.J. Kalkman (2017). A bibliography and checklist of the dragonflies and damselflies of Bhutan. Journal of Threatened Taxa 9(1): 9743–9747;


Copyright: © Gyeltshen et al. 2017. Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. JoTT allows unrestricted use of this article in any medium, reproduction and distribution by providing adequate credit to the authors and the source of publication.


Funding: Bhutan Trust Fund for Environmental Conservation (BTFEC),

National Biodiversity Center (NBC).

Conflict of Interest: The authors declare no competing interests.


Acknowledgements: The authors are grateful to National Biodiversity Center (NBC) and Bhutan Trust Fund for Environmental Conservation (BTFEC) for funding this study. Heartfelt gratitude goes to the Director of Sherubtse College for kindly permitting the authors to go on a field visit.




Abstract: An overview is given of literature containing distribution records of dragonflies and damselflies in Bhutan.  Based on this an annotated checklist is presented which contains 92 species.  Camacinia gigantea (Brauer, 1867) and Libellago lineata (Burmeister, 1839) are listed as new to Bhutan.

Keywords: Bhutan, Camacinia, checklist, Libellago, Odonata.




The Bhutanese odonate fauna remained largely unstudied up to the turn of this century. Since then the number of species known from the country has increased rapidly, most notably because of the numerous contributions made by Amit Mitra. The first study on Bhutanese odonata was carried out by Fraser (1936) who identified and published four species (Indolestes cyaneus Selys, 1862; Neallogaster latifrons Selys, 1878; Orthetrum sabina Drury, 1770; and Sympetrum hypomelas Selys, 1884) from a collection sent to him by Chas. M. Inglis from Paro, Bhutan (Mitra 2013). Lieftinck (1977) added five more species to the list, followed by three more additions by Tsuda (1991) in his distributional list of world Odonata. The latter does not contain details of the localities where the species were found and Lestes concinnus Hagen in Selys, 1862, listed as new to Bhutan by Tsuda (1991), has not been found in the country since and no locality is known there. A total of 40 species were added between 2002 and 2008 by the extensive work of Mitra (Mitra 2002, 2006, 2008; Mitra & Thinley 2006). The enigmatic Epiophlebia laidlawi, also known as the Himalayan relict dragonfly, was first reported by Brockhaus & Hartman (2009) based on larvae collected from streams in western and central Bhutan. Dorji (2015) published further records of this species, extending its known range in Bhutan further east to Bumthang and south to Chukha. In 2012 and 2013, a total of 23 species were reported as new to Bhutan by Mitra et al. (2012) and Mitra (2013). The most recent publication is that of Kalkman & Gyeltshen (2016) who added 14 species to the list of Bhutanese odonates, three of which were not identified to species-level.

Brockhaus (2015) listed Libellago lineata (Burmeister, 1839) and Camacinia gigantea (Brauer, 1867) as occurring in the eastern Himalaya (which includes Bhutan and Arunachal Pradesh, India) in his checklist of dragonflies of the Himalayas. Both of these species were not yet recorded from Bhutan and are listed here for the first time from Bhutanese territory.

Methods: Literature on dragonflies and damselflies from the eastern Himalaya were studied in order to find references to records of odonates from Bhutan. Only references in which original data are published were taken into account. References referring to areas formerly belonging to Bhutan (the Duars) were discarded. References in journals listed as predatory journals by Beall (2016) are not included. Based on this information a checklist was made which lists the references containing original data for each species.

Results: In total 12 papers were found to contain original data on the distribution of dragonflies and damselflies in Bhutan (see Table 1 and references). The following two species are recorded for the first time from Bhutanese territory:

Camacinia gigantea, Nganglam, Pemagatshel: 91014’58.12”N & 26050’08.11”E, elevation 581m, 11 May 2015.

Several males were seen (Images 1 and 2), and two were caught flying over a small, knee-deep pond. This pond swells to a lake during wetter months of the year (summer period). No females were observed.

Libellago lineata, Rinchending, Phuentsholing, Chukha: 26051’01”N & 89023’45”E, elevation 405m, 7 October 2015. One male was collected by Tshering Nidup and Wim Klein (Images 3 and 4).

Discussion: In total 92 species belonging to 16 families have been recorded from Bhutan. The relative ease with which new species are still being found suggests that many species await to be discovered in Bhutan. The total number of dragonflies and damselflies present in Bhutan might be close to 150.






References with a * contain original distribution information on dragonflies and damselflies in Bhutan.

Asahina, S. (1967). A Revision of the Asiatic Species of the Damselflies of the Genus Ceriagrion (Odonata, Agrionidae). Japanese Journal of Zoology 15: 255–334.

Asahina, S. (1982). A new Somatochlora from Nepal (Corduliidae). Tombo 25: 15–18.

Brockhaus, T. & A. Hartman (2009) *. New records of Epiophlebia laidlawai Tillyard, 1921 in Bhutan with notes on its biology, ecology, distribution, zoogeography and threat status (Anisozygoptera: Epiophlebiidae). Odonatologica 38(3): 203–215.

Beall, J. (2016). Scholarly Open Access: Critical analysis of scholarly open-access publishing. Accessed on 3 January 2017.

Brockhaus, T. (2015). The Dragonflies of the Himalayas with special emphasis on the species of mountainous rain forests (Insecta: Odonata), pp. 287–319. In: Hartmann M. & J. Weipert (eds.). Biodiversität und Naturausstattung im Himalaya, Band V/Biodiversity and Natural heritage of the Himalayas, Vol. 5. Verein der Freunde und Förderer des Naturkundemuseums Erfurt.e.V., 580pp.

Dorji, T. (2015)*. New distribution records of Epiophlebia laidlawi Tillyard, 1921 (Insecta: Odonata) from Bhutan. Journal of Threatened Taxa 7(10): 7668–7675;

Fraser, F.C. (1936)*. Notes on a collection of Dragonflies from Bhutan. (Order-Odonata). Darjeeling Natural History Society Journal 10: 183–184

Guan, Z., H.J. Dumont, X. Yu, B.-P. Han & A. Vierstraete (2013). Pyrrhosoma and its relatives: a phylogenetic study (Odonata: Zygoptera). International Journal of Odonatology 16: 247–257.

Hämäläinen, M. (2016). Calopterygoidea of the World: A Synonymic List of Extant Damselfly Species of the Superfamily Calopterygoidea (sensu lato) (Odonata: Zygoptera). Privately published, Espoo, 41pp.

Kalkman, V.J. & T. Gyeltshen (2016)*. Records of dragonflies from western Bhutan collected in October 2015. International Dragonfly Fund - Report 94: 1–15.

Lieftinck, M.A. (1977)*. Ergebnisse der Bhutan-expedition 1972 des naturhistorischen museums in Basel: Odonata. Entomologica Basiliensia 2: 11–37.

May, M.L. (2002). Phylogeny and taxonomy of the damselfly genus Enallagma and related taxa (Odonata: Zygoptera: Coenagrionidae). Systematic Entomology 27: 387–408;

Mitra, A. (2002)*. Dragonfly (Odonata: Insecta) Fauna of Trashigang Dzongkhag, Eastern Bhutan. Environment and Life Support Systems of the Bhutan Himalaya 1: 40–70.

Mitra, A. (2006)*. Current Status of the Odonata of Bhutan: A Checklist with four new records. Bhutan Journal of Renewable Natural Resources 2(1): 136–143.

Mitra, A. (2008)*. Dragonfly fauna of Bhutan - An annotated and updated Check-list with ten new records. Fraseria (N.S.) 7(1/2): 105–109.

Mitra, A. (2013)*. On a small collection of dragonflies from Bhutan with four new records: Range extension of Pyrrhosoma tinctipenne (Mclachlan, 1894), pp. 8–19. In: Musaddiq, M., J.D. Jawalikar, S. Namgyel & S. Chhogyel (eds.). Advances in Environmental Science. Oxford Book Company, Jaipur, vi+272pp.

Mitra, A., K. Choden, Y. Dorji, T. Penjor, R. Dorji, K. Subedi & P. Dorji (2012)*. Odonata of Samdrup Choling Dungkhag in Samdrup Jongkhar, Bhutan. Bhutan Journal of Research & Development 1(2): 125–141.

Mitra, A. & P. Thinley (2006)*. A Report on the Odonata diversity of Bumdeling Wildlife Sanctuary, Trashi Yangtse, Eastern Bhutan. Ministry of Agriculture, Thimphu, 58pp.

Papazian, M., H.J. Dumont & N.J. Mary-Sasal (2007). The Odonata of the Pacific Ocean islands of Wallis and Futuna, with special reference to speciation in Ischnura aurora (Brauer). Odonatologica 36: 53–62.

Tsuda, S. (1991)*. A Distributional List of World Odonata 1991. Privately published, Osaka.

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