Dragonflies of Dragon’s Blood Island: Atlas of the Odonata of the Socotra Archipelago (Yemen)

Kay Van Damme*, Petr Vahalík, Robert Ketelaar, Petr Jeziorski, Jaap Bouwman, Miranda Morris, Ahmed Saeed Suleiman, Henri J. Dumont

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Dragonflies are important bioindicators of aquatic ecosystem health. We discuss the distribution and richness of the 22 dragon- and damselfly species known from the Socotra Archipelago UNESCO World Heritage Site (Yemen) in the western Indian Ocean. We compiled 841 records from literature, field data and museum collections, covering a surveying period of 123 years (1896–2019). Distribution of the only endemic, the Socotra Bluet Azuragrion granti (McLachlan, 1903), an indicator of pristine lotic waters, is updated. Relatively higher dragonfly species richness occurs in eastern Socotra where suitable aquatic habitats are present all year. We observed a significant drop of the number of taxa over several decades in areas in the Hadiboh Plain where human development impacts are strongest. We discuss the indigenous people’s perception of dragonflies to assess the potential of these invertebrates as local flagships for aquatic biodiversity conservation. Our knowledge of the Socotran Odonata remains incomplete, yet they are now among the best studied animal groups in the archipelago. A new record of an Oriental Anax indicates that the island’s dragonfly fauna may yet harbour surprises. Our compilation of odonate records is the first for Socotra and serves as a baseline for future monitoring of the archipelago’s vital aquatic habitats. We converted all records into a geodatabase which we uploaded to an online, freely available web mapping server and mobile application to facilitate research and conservation of the Socotran dragonflies (www.dragonfliesofsocotra.com).
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)571-605
JournalRendiconti Lincei
Publication statusPublished - 12 Aug 2020


  • Aquatic habitats
  • Biodiversity
  • Distribution
  • Odonata
  • Richness
  • Socotra Archipelago


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