Conservationists highlight benefits of dragonflies

As part of efforts at preserving Nigeria’s biodiversity, a group of conservationists have said that dragonflies are reliable bio-indicators of the health of an ecosystem.

The Project Officer, Ekpah Ojonugwa, disclosed this on Monday when he led some pupils on an expedition into the forest in search of damselflies, a specie of dragonfly.

In a statement made available to Financial Street, they noted that they embarked on the project to enlighten rural communities on ecological preservation, as well as educate pupils on the environment.

He revealed that dragonfly is a beneficial insect with ecological importance.

“Dragonflies are expert fliers. They can fly straight up and down, hover like a helicopter and even mate mid-air. If they can’t fly, they will starve because they only eat prey they catch while flying.

“About 7,000 species of dragonflies are in existence. These include yellow citril damselfly. They are only found in Nigeria and Benin Republic, and were only last recorded in Sapoba Forest Reserve in Edo State, Nigeria, in 1972,” Ojonugwa said.

According to him, the insect, which preys on mosquitoes, requires stable oxygen levels and clean water.

A single dragonfly, he added, can eat between 30 and 100 of mosquitoes daily.

The Baale of Sunmoge, Chief Adekunle Ewukoya, whose palace was visited during the expedition, described the visit of the conservationists as an eye-opener for him and his people, on the importance of the age-long insects which they refer to as ‘lamilami’ in their local dialect.

In the course of the expedition, some trees were planted in the community and a member of the team, Ibukun Lawal, assured them of regular visitation to the community.

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