First record of Pantala flavescens (Anisoptera: Libellulidae) from the remote Amsterdam Island, southern Indian Ocean

Abstract

Natural colonization of macroinvertebrates into the Sub-Antarctic area is generally accepted to be a rare event. In February 2017, two live adults of Pantala flavescens (Libellulidae) were recorded on the isolated Amsterdam Island (37°50′ S, 77°30′ E), southern Indian Ocean. This circumtropical species, common name the Globe Skimmer, can fly several thousand kilometers. This paper analyzes the weather conditions in this sector of the Indian Ocean in February 2017 to assess the probability of arrival of the dragonflies by air from their known migration route at lower latitudes between India and East Africa. The probability that this species could establish and form a permanent population on Amsterdam Island is discussed. Some favorable habitats are present but temperatures are probably too low to allow the dragonflies to complete their development. Odonata have never been observed on Sub-Antarctic islands and reports of natural arrival of insects into these islands mainly concern Lepidoptera. Here we also report observations of Vanessa cardui (Nymphalidae) which has established a permanent population on Amsterdam Island and has been observed on several occasions in the Crozet Archipelago.

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Acknowledgements

We thank Gaël Delpon and Philippe Lambret for information on Pantala flavescens and Philippe Vernon, Sylvain Gutjahr, and Benjamin Ferlay for their records of Vanessa cardui on Possession Island in 1979, 2007, and 2017, respectively. We also thank D. Piepenburg (Editor in Chief, Polar Biology), M.J. Samways, L. Hugo-Coetzee, and one anonymous reviewer for valuable comments on our manuscript. This study was funded by IPEV (Institut Polaire Français Paul-Emile Victor, Programs 109, 136, and 1167) and the CNRS (Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, Zone Atelier Antarctique).

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Correspondence to Marc Lebouvier.

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Devaud, M., Lebouvier, M. First record of Pantala flavescens (Anisoptera: Libellulidae) from the remote Amsterdam Island, southern Indian Ocean. Polar Biol 42, 1041–1046 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00300-019-02479-3

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Keywords

  • Long-distance dispersal
  • Odonata
  • Alien species
  • Sub-Antarctic island
  • Lepidoptera