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Orthetrum poecilops

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
ANIMALIA ARTHROPODA INSECTA ODONATA LIBELLULIDAE

Scientific Name: Orthetrum poecilops
Species Authority: Ris, 1919
Infra-specific Taxa Assessed:
Common Name(s):
English Mangrove Skimmer
Taxonomic Notes: Ris (1919) described Orthetrum poecilops poecilops from Guangdong. The subspecies Orthetrum poecilops miyajimaense Yuki & Doi, 1938 was described, originally as separate species, from Miyajima, a small island near Hiroshima, southern Honshu, Japan. Asahina and Sawano (1957) synonymised the two taxa but later Asahina (1970) reinstated miyajimaense at subspecies level, based principally on its smaller size. Wilson (2001) considers the two taxa are probably synonyms. Nevertheless the Japanese population represents a distinct and isolated (fragmented) population.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Vulnerable B2ab(ii,iii) ver 3.1
Year Published: 2009
Date Assessed: 2009-02-11
Assessor(s): Wilson, K. D. P.
Reviewer(s): Clausnitzer, V. (Odonata Red List Authority) & Pollock, C.M. (IUCN Red List Unit)
Justification:
The Mangrove Skipper (Orthetrum poecilops) is restricted to coastal habitats, particularly intertidal mudflats amongst mangroves and coastal marsh habitats. Currently it is known from sites in China and Hong Kong, with a small subpopulation in Japan, however the actual area occupied by the species within its overall range is likely to be less than 2,000 km². Fewer than 10 locations are known, and the majority of sites from which the Mangrove Skipper has been recorded are being degraded as a result of housing and aquaculture developments. The species therefore qualifies for a Vulnerable assessment.
History:
2006 Vulnerable (IUCN 2006)
2006 Vulnerable

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: The Mangrove Skipper (Orthetrum poecilops) is known from China and Japan. The type locality is in Guangdong (China). Asahina (1970) recorded the nominate subspecies from Foochow, Fujian (China), and Wilson (2001) recorded it from four sites in northeast Hong Kong representing two locations: one at Starling Inlet, including Nam Chung, Ho Pui Leng, Yin Tso Ha, and the second Shuen Wan. A population was discovered on a small isolated island at Wong Wan during 2002, at a site reported in Wilson (2003) as 'Double Haven'. The subspecies O. p. miyajimanense is known from a handful of sites at Miyajima Island, near Hiroshima (Japan). Sugimura et al. (2001) described the distribution for O. p. miyajimanense as Itsukushima (= Miyajima) in the Seto Sea.
Countries:
Native:
China (Fujian, Guangdong); Hong Kong; Japan
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: The population is known to be decreasing due to housing developments around its specific habitat preferences.
Population Trend: Decreasing

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: The Mangrove Skipper can be found on inter-tidal mudflats amongst Kandelia mangroves in northeast Hong Kong. It must be considered as a marine dragonfly. It is only found in Hong Kong at sites below the high water mark. Although these sites are influenced by small freshwater trickles and seepages at low tide, at high tide, all the Hong Kong sites are fully covered by seawater. During the wet season salinities of surface seawater at Starling Inlet drop to as low as 18 g/L (0/00), or less, but during the winter dry season, surface water salinities are typically fully saline at 33 g/L (0/00). Very little is known of the Mangrove Skipper's biology apart from its preference for intertidal mudflats amongst Kandelia mangroves. In Japan the only known sites are coastal marshes. In Hong Kong males can be found holding territories throughout the day; typically perching on Kandelia mangroves or Phragmites australis reed stems. Females appear at the breeding sites during the early morning and late afternoon. The larvae have been described by Sawano (1966) who discovered the species in coastal marsh habitat in Miyajima.
Systems: Terrestrial; Freshwater; Marine

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): All sites in Hong Kong, with the exception of Wong Wan ('Double Haven'), are located in unprotected, coastal sites. One site at Shuen Wan, east Hong Kong, has already been compromised by housing development and several others at Starling Inlet are vulnerable to housing development. In Guangdong much of the coastal environment, including reed marsh and mangrove habitats, have been damaged by development of aquaculture industries and only a fraction of the original mangrove community remains.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Research into the species population and ecological habits are needed, as are habitat protection actions if the species current decreasing trend is going to be reversed.

Citation: Wilson, K. D. P. 2009. Orthetrum poecilops. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 30 August 2014.
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