Critical species of Odonata in Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore and Brunei


Malaysia, Brunei and the Indonesian archipelago comprise a total land area of ca 1.84 million km2 including ca 13,000 islands, lying entirely within the tropics. The region is bisected by Wallace’s line and supports a rich Oriental fauna to the west (Sundaland) and mainly Australian elements to the east. Taxonomic studies throughout the region were greatly advanced in the first part of the last century by M.A. Lieftinck especially, but many areas remain totally unexplored. Present knowledge suggests ca 700 species occur in the region of which ca 500 are endemic. Many species are known from limited material, often a single specimen or a type series from a poorly defined locality. It is certain that many are highly stenotopic and sometimes occur naturally at low abundance. The most critical habitats are mixed-dipterocarp terra firma forests and fresh-water swamp forests, both of which exhibit high α and β diversity and harbour a majority of stenotopic species. However all potentially critical species must presently be classified as data deficient. On present knowledge it is not possible to recommend specific action against any species or habitat. No red listings are appropriate. There is an acute need for baseline data, especially from Central Borneo. Wholesale, unregulated habitat destruction for short-term profit poses the gravest threat to the region. Formerly well-studied areas such as Java are in urgent need of reassessment.

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