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Critically endangered dragonfly Libellula angelina spotted in Beijing


The critically endangered dragonfly Libellula angelina has been spotted in Beijing.

In early May of this year, the Water Ecology and Health Monitoring Team of the Water Affairs Bureau in Haidian District, Beijing, discovered an insect resembling Libellula angelina for the first time during a survey along the banks of Shangzhuang Reservoir in Beijing. 

After recent re-examination and identification by relevant experts from Beijing Forestry University, the insect was finally determined to be Libellula angelina, a species of dragonfly listed as Critically Endangered (CR) by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

Libellula angelina, also known as bekko tombo, is native to East Asia. It was once widely distributed in northern and eastern China. Each year, the dragonfly emerges as an adult from April to May for reproduction. 

Libellula angelina. /CFP
Libellula angelina. /CFP

Libellula angelina. /CFP

"For Libellula angelina, the ideal habitat is a small, still body of water with high water quality. In the past, rice paddy fields and small lakes were ideal habitats for them. However, as urbanization accelerates, farmland and naturally-formed small lakes have gradually decreased to the point of disappearing, and their habitats are also shrinking in cities," said Shi Hongliang, associate professor of Beijing Forestry University.

"Other rare dragonflies will mostly choose to fly into the mountains to find new habitats when their habitats in the plains decrease, but Libellula angelina has poor environmental adaptability and weak population migration and dispersion ability, which makes it more vulnerable under environmental pressure. This is also one of the main reasons why this dragonfly is currently critically endangered," he added. 

According to Chen Qiankuo, head of the Water Ecology and Health Monitoring Project of the Water Affairs Bureau in Haidian District, Beijing, the endangered status of Libellula angelina is even higher than the giant panda, and is the same as the endangered status of the Chinese sturgeon. 

(Cover image via CFP)

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