Distribution, ecology and status of a threatened species Ischnura intermedia (Insecta: Odonata), new for Europe


The dragonfly genus Ischnura has been the subject of numerous studies and is well studied in Europe and the Middle East. Nevertheless, information on the ecology, habitat preferences and phylogenetic relationships of some species is deficient. One species lacking such data is Ischnura intermedia, a near endemic species of the Middle East, found for the first time in Europe on Cyprus in 2013, where it occurs in five river valleys. In this study, we monitored I. intermedia in Cyprus where the species has a long flight period from the end of March until mid-November. Our results show that it has two and possibly even three generations a year, with the males of the first generation having reduced blue coloration on abdominal segments 8 and 9. Ischnura intermedia is confined to small secondary channels adjacent to streams and rivulets where the current slows and water is retained. It appears that populations can only become established at sites that have permanent water. It is therefore anticipated that the species will be under severe pressure within its range. We suggest listing this species as “Endangered” in Europe and globally as “Vulnerable” following the IUCN Red List Categories and Criteria and to prepare a species action plan for the European population of Ischnura intermedia on Cyprus. Two partial DNA fragments, mtDNA cytochrome b (Cytb) and cytochrome oxidase subunit I (COI) were used to gain insights into the phylogenetic position within Ischnura, especially within the I. pumilio clade. We demonstrate that I. intermedia is clearly separated from I. pumilio, but closely related to I. forcipata.

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