Story By: William McGee, Sub-Editor: Joseph Golder, Agency: Newsflash
A Chinese museum has claimed to have the world’s smallest set of dragonflies – over 10 scarlet dwarves found in mountainous region with poor flying ability and a travelling distance of just a few metres.
The species, Nannophya pygmaea, which is variously known as the scarlet dwarf, northern pygmyfly or tiny dragonfly, is believed to be the world’s smallest dragonfly species.
The samples held by the Insect Museum of West China hail from China’s southern Sichuan Province and are believed to be the smallest ever found of the species.
Curator Zhao Li has revealed that the average adult body length of the museum’s samples is 16.5 millimetres (0.65 inches) for males and 16 millimetres (0.63 inches) for females, with their smallest adult specimen measuring just 15 millimetres (0.59 inches).
This is believed to be a new record, as the existing record for the smallest adult scarlet dwarf body length is 17 millimetres.
The museum houses over 10 specimens, which were collected in August from an alpine gorge region in Sichuan, which is believed to be the insects’ northernmost habitat in China.
The museum believes that given the isolation of the mountainous area, the scarlet dwarves there may have developed independently, resulting in their smaller-than-average size.
They are reported to have poor flying ability and are said to only move within a radius of a few metres.
The scarlet dwarf also inhabits Southeast Asia and Japan and is occasionally found in Australia. The dragonfly’s typical wingspan is 20 millimetres (0.79 inches).
In contrast, the Pseudostigmatida, variously known as the helicopter damselfly, giant damselfly or forest giant, is the world’s largest dragonfly with a wingspan of up to 19 centimetres (7.48 inches).
China is home to over 990 of the world’s estimated 5,000 dragonfly species, making it the country with the largest dragonfly diversity in the world above Brazil.
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