Odonata (Insecta) communities along an elevational gradient in the Atlantic forest of southeastern Brazil, with the description of the female of Heteragrion mantiqueirae Machado, 2006


Despite the important role of the order Odonata in ecosystems, there is a lack of information about dragonfly communities in several regions, high elevation sites, and environmentally protected areas in Minas Gerais State, Brazil. Our objective was to assess the abundance and richness of dragonfly and damselfly communities along an elevational gradient in the Atlantic Forest, southeastern Brazil. This study was conducted in the Fernão Dias Environmental Protection Area, Mantiqueira Mountain region, Gonçalves, Minas Gerais State, in sites covered by Seasonal Semideciduous and mixed forests. This is the first study of Odonata communities in the region. Samplings were carried out on 17 days from October 2019 to March 2020 at three elevation ranges (low, mid, and high). A total of 293 specimens, distributed in 39 species and 9 families, were sampled. Elevation did not influence the richness or abundance of dragonflies but altered community composition. Some species were found to be exclusive to high-elevation sites, such as Heteragrion mantiqueirae Machado, 2006, which was recorded for the first time in Minas Gerais and we provide a description and diagnosis of the single female collected in tandem. A novel species of the genus Brechmorhoga was found to occur at mid and high elevations. The composition of dragonfly communities depends on the degree of preservation and extension of forest areas. Therefore, conservation of forests in Gonçalves is crucial for preserving Odonata diversity in Minas Gerais State.

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