Habitat and seasonal distribution of Odonata (Insecta) of Mula and Mutha river basins, Maharashtra, India

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A.S. Kulkarni
K.A. Subramanian


Catchment landscape degradation and habitat modifications of freshwater ecosystems are a primary cause of biodiversity loss in riverine ecosystems all over the world. Many elements of the flora and fauna of freshwater ecosystems are sensitive to the changes in catchment land use and habitat modification. These sensitive taxa are also reliable indicators of freshwater ecosystem health. In the current study we investigate the seasonal and habitat distribution of Odonata (Insecta) across riparian land use types in Mula and Mutha river basins, northern Western Ghats, Maharashtra. There was a difference in the species composition across land use types and across seasons with highest diversity and abundance during the post monsoon period. The highest Odonata diversity was observed in urban areas followed by forest and agriculture fields. There was a loss of 31% of the odonate fauna in the study area over 50 years which could be due to rapid industrialization and urbanization of the region and consequent degradation of freshwater ecosystems. The significance of catchment land use on Odonata diversity and its value in landscape monitoring is discussed.

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