Green and Gossamer, and Not Gone: A Sri Lankan Dragonfly Flits Back to Life

The first time that scientists described the beautiful metallic-green dragonfly that they would later call Flint’s cruiser was in 1970. Based on a single male specimen, they named the species Macromia flinti, endemic to Sri Lanka.

And then, for the next half century, they never saw another one. No flash of iridescent green and yellow, no flutter of gossamer wings. Nothing. Until this year, that is, when a group of young Sri Lankan field researchers resurfaced the species that was thought to be extinct, and in the process shed new light on one of the least-known dragonflies around.

“It was only known from a single location based on a single specimen and had no recent records,” Amila Prasanna Sumanapala, one of the researchers and the lead author of the newly published paper highlighting the rediscovery, tells Mongabay. “M. flinti has been categorized as a critically endangered species [on the IUCN Red List], indicating ‘possibly extinct’ status. There had also not been any other surveys to confirm its status either.”

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