Protosticta myristicaensis, Joshi & Subramanian & Babu & Sawant & Kunte, 2020

Joshi, Shantanu, Subramanian, K. A., Babu, R., Sawant, Dattaprasad & Kunte, Krushnamegh, 2020, Three new species of Protosticta Selys, 1885 (Odonata: Zygoptera: Platystictidae) from the Western Ghats, India, with taxonomic notes on P. mortoni Fraser, 1922 and rediscovery of P. rufostigma Kimmins, 1958, Zootaxa 4858 (2), pp. 151-185 : 161-169

publication ID 10.11646/zootaxa.4858.2.1

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scientific name

Protosticta myristicaensis

sp. nov.

Protosticta myristicaensis View in CoL spec. nov.

Joshi & Kunte

( Figs. 7–11 View FIGURE 7 View FIGURE 8 View FIGURE 9 View FIGURE 10 View FIGURE 11 , 12 View FIGURE 12 c–d)

Holotype. ♂ ( NCBS-BH110 ), Kathlekan , Shivamogga, Karnataka, India (14.2743 N, 74.747 9 E; Alt: 560 m), 16.iv.2019, Krushnamegh Kunte leg.

Paratypes. 2 ♀♀ ( NCBS-BH111 & NCBS-BH112 ), location, date of collection, and collector same as holotype . 3 ♂♂, 1 ♀ ( NCBS-BM654 BM657 ), same locality as holotype, 23.xi.2019, Krushnamegh Kunte leg.

Etymology. The specific name is given after ‘ Myristica swamps’, a unique, biodiverse forest swamp habitat endemic to the Western Ghats, where the type series was observed and collected.

Description of holotype ( Figs. 7 View FIGURE 7 , 9 View FIGURE 9 ). Head ( Fig. 7b View FIGURE 7 ). Labrum, anteclypeus, postclypeus bright blue in live condition, pinkish white in preserved individual; lower 1/3rd of labrum, mandibles and labium brown; antefrons, postfrons black; vertex and postocular lobes black with metallic green sheen; eyes pastel blue in situ, pale pinkish brown post-mortem; both sides of the occipital ridge with a small rounded protuberance; base of antenna white, filament black.

Thorax. Prothorax ( Fig. 7c View FIGURE 7 ) dorsally bright turquoise blue, brown laterally, dorsal carina pale yellow. Pterothorax ( Fig. 7a View FIGURE 7 ) black, with copper colored sheen, marked with white: dorsal carina, across mesepimeron occupying dorsal 1/3 rd, connected to white metacoxae, and across metepimeron connecting to the white metacoxae laterally, metinfraepisternum slightly white at ventral border adjacent to metacoxae; ventrum of metathorax black. Legs including coxae white, femur faintly marked black on the posterior face, tarsus dark at apices, tarsal claws yellow.

Wings ( Fig. 7a,d View FIGURE 7 ). Basal wing venation white; Pt dark brown bordered with yellow; two cells between junction of RP 1 -RP 2 and origin of IR 1 in FW and right HW, three in left HW; Ab absent; Ax: 2 in all wings; Px: FW = 11, HW = 9–10.

Abdomen ( Fig. 7a View FIGURE 7 ). Marked with black and white: anterior half of S1 white laterally, S2 with a slanting white marking laterally reaching 2/3 rd of its length; S3–7 with white annules at anterior border and black annules at the posterior border, white markings reduced on S3, more prominent on subsequent segments; S8 with a broad white basal ring occupying about 3/4 th of the segment, continued ventro-laterally till posterior margin; S9–10 black. Anterior hamuli small, ovoid, dark brown, covered with thick brown hair at apices. Posterior hamuli saddle-shaped, broader at base curved anteriorly at a 45° angle, base covered with sparse hair, apex covered by a plume of hair.

Genital ligula ( Fig. 9 View FIGURE 9 ). Ventral half of first and second segments black, dorsally dark brown; first segment thicker at base, thinner midway and thick at the juncture with second segment; second and third segments attached; third segment complex; dorsally with two inwardly curved ridges on apices; these two ridges connecting at the apices; laterally third segment with conical protuberances on both sides, apices tapering, elongated reaching till the first segment.

Caudal appendages ( Fig. 7 View FIGURE 7 e–f). Cerci black, about 3.5 times of S 10 in length, curving inwards at apices; cerci with a basal spine, bifurcated at the apices into two arms; inner, ventral arm thick at its base, curved, with bluntly pointed apices, expanded at base and curved downwards, at the base of inner arm a small blunt spine pointing posteriorly; outer dorsal arm much thinner than inner, slightly thinner at base, thicker medially and with blunt thin apices; paraprocts brown, curved ventro-laterally inwards and upwards towards apices, a small inwardly curved basal spine present, broader at base, apices rounded.

Measurements: abdomen + caudal appendages = 19.2, FW & HW = 12, cerci = 0.7, paraprocts = 0.6.

Variation in males ( Fig. 8 View FIGURE 8 ). In NCBS-BM654, bright markings on S2–7 fainter; marking on S8 slightly irregular on left lateral area, but of same length as holotype; yellow border of pterostigma less extensive; two cells between junction of RP 1 -RP 2 and origin of IR 1 in FW, three in the HW. In NCBS-BM655, border of anteclypeus and postclypeus bluish, postclypeus brown; three cells between junction of RP 1 -RP 2 and origin of IR 1 in all wings. In NCBS-BM656, three cells between junction of RP 1 -RP 2 and origin of IR 1 in all wings, except left HW with four cells. Immature males have white pterostigma.

Px: HW = 9–10, FW = 10–11.

Description of female (NCBS-BH111) ( Fig. 10 View FIGURE 10 ).

Head ( Fig. 10b View FIGURE 10 ). Labrum, anteclypeus, bright blue; lower half of labrum, mandibles and labium dark brown; postclypeus, frons, vertex and postocular space black with metallic green sheen; both sides of the occipital ridge with a small rounded protuberance; base of antennae white, rest dark brown; eyes brown centrally largely pale blue.

Thorax. Prothorax ( Fig. 10 View FIGURE 10 d–e) bright blue in situ, laterally median and posterior lobes faint purple, propleuron brown; anterior margin of anterior lobe raised; posterior lobe depressed medially. Pterothorax ( Fig. 10a View FIGURE 10 ). Dorsal carina white, mesepisternum brown with purplish sheen at some viewing angles, dorsal carina pale yellow, mesepimeron brown with a faint metallic blue band adjacent to the ventral border; white band across upper half of metepisternum connecting to mesocoxae; mesinfraepisternum largely brown, white at lower border adjacent to coxa; metepimeron with lower half white; brown marking on lower half of metepisternum and upper half of metepimeron connecting, expanded medially, tapering posteriorly, anteriorly continued on metinfraepisternum; venter of metathorax black with a medial broad white band continuing on S1. Legs including coxae white, junction of femur and tibia black.

Wings ( Fig. 10a,c View FIGURE 10 ). Basal membranules white, venation black; Pt brown post-mortem, slightly longer than one cell; three cells between junction of RP 1 -RP 2 and origin of IR 1 in all wings; Ab absent; Ax: 2 in all wings; Px: FW: left = 10, right = 11, HW = 10.

Abdomen ( Fig. 10a View FIGURE 10 ). Anterior half of S1 laterally white; S2–8 with white annules at the anterior border, more extensive laterally and ventrally; dorsal markings reduced on S2; white marking at the anterior border of S8 not connected dorsally, continuing laterally about ½ the length of the segment; S9 white laterally but not connected dorsally; S10 brown; S2–7 darker at posterior border.

Caudal appendages ( Fig. 10 View FIGURE 10 f–g). Cerci black, conical, pointed at apices, approximately same length as S10; paraprocts black, rounded, half the length of cerci; ovipositor and valve of ovipositor black, ventrally dark brown, terebra large, about twice the length of cerci, grey-brown; ovipositor dark brown and sharply pointed at apices, ending in long dark brown styles extending well beyond cerci.

Measurements: abdomen + caudal appendages = 20.4, FW & HW = 14, cerci = 0.27.

Variation in females ( Fig. 11 View FIGURE 11 ). Wings enfumed brown and basal membranules yellow in NCBS-BH112. Immature females (e.g. NCBS-BM657, Fig. 11 View FIGURE 11 a–e) have white pterostigma and basal membranules, venation brown.

In NCBS-BM657, three cells between junction of RP 1 -RP 2 and origin of IR 1 in left FW and both HW and two cells in right FW.

Px: FW = 12, HW: 10–11.

Diagnosis. This species is clearly the smallest Indian Protosticta . Apart from its small size, males can be distinguished from all other species by the shape of cerci, specifically the small tubercle at the base of the apical fork ( Figs. 7f View FIGURE 7 , 8b,f View FIGURE 8 ). It can be further distinguished from congeneric species by the color of eyes (blue, Fig. 12c View FIGURE 12 ), uniform coloration of prothorax (purple in live condition) ( Figs. 7c View FIGURE 7 , 8a View FIGURE 8 ), and bright marking on S8 (anterior 3/4 th of the segment white, Fig. 7a View FIGURE 7 ).

Female of this species can be differentiated from other species in Western Ghats by its small size, color of prothorax (purple in live condition), and the extent and shape of bright markings on S8–9. Both males & females can be distinguished by the broad white dorsal carina.

Habitat and Ecology. Myristica swamps are freshwater swamps characterized by trees with stilt roots ( Fig. 18b View FIGURE 18 ). These are relict habitats thought to have existed over large areas but have become highly fragmented, and now occupy less than 200 hectares ( Kumaran et al. 2013, Limaye et al. 2016). These unique ecosystems are highly threatened from various factors such as land-use changes like conversion into agricultural fields and plantations ( Chandran & Mesta 2001), and excessive water withdrawal ( Ganesan 2002). We also observed this at the type locality of P. myristicaensis where on one side of the road Myristica swamps have been converted into areca nut plantations. Of the recorded wildlife in Myristica swamps 16.3% are endemic to Western Ghats ( Jose et al. 2007), and many new species exclusive to Myristica swamps have been discovered in recent years such as the monotypic ‘ Myristica Swamp tree frog‘, Mercurana myristicapalustris Abraham, Pyron, Ansil, Zachariah & Zachariah, 2013 .

Protosticta myristicaensis was observed exclusively in Myristica swamp patch, along the Bengaluru-Honnavar road at Kathlekan, Karnataka ( Fig. 23a View FIGURE 23 ). This site was surveyed twice (April and November 2019) and both times the species was observed (April: four males and two females; November: three males and two females). This species was observed alongside P. gravelyi , Heliocypha bisignata Hagen in Selys, 1853 , Tholymis tillarga (Fabricius, 1798) , Mortonagrion varralli Fraser, 1920 and Phylloneura westermanii (Hagen in Selys, 1860) (a species endemic to Myristica swamps). Unlike other Indian Protosticta spp., this species has the unique behavior of perching very low (not flying above the height of 20–30 cm) among roots of trees such as Myristica fatua Houtt. var. magnifica (Bedd.) , Gymnacranthera canarica (King) Warb. , Semecarpus kathalekanensis Dasappa & Swaminath (all three species endemic to Myristica swamps), Knema attenuata (Hook. Fil. & Thomas.) Warb. , Lophopetalum wrightianum Arn. and Hopea ponga (Dennst.) Mabberley ( Fig. 18b View FIGURE 18 ).













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