New discovery amid UAE's dying ecosystem

 

Fujairah, United Arab Emirates - Dr Jacky Judas paused over a photograph from the field. The dragonfly captured by his camera was different than any other he had seen before. It was red-bodied, with a distinctive pattern of cross-veins on its lower wings.

Carefully, working from home, he checked the specimen against all known species in the region. But it was nowhere to be found. He dispatched the photo to an expert in Europe, a dragonfly specialist at the International Union for Conservation of Nature. The expert tested the image across a larger database, and it did not take long for Judas to get an answer.

The dragonfly was a species that had not been seen since 1957. It was considered extinct, and was never known to have even inhabited the area where Judas found it. "You always hope to make new discoveries … but this wasn’t expected," he says.