On gossamer wings

Dragonfly new to Israel discovered in kibbutz ‘bio-blitz’

Sinai hooktail spotted during 24-hour wildlife survey by experts and members of public in and around Kibbutz Neot Smadar in southern Israel

Sue Surkes is The Times of Israel's environment reporter

A Sinai hooktail spotted in the Arava Desert in southern Israel. (Itai Shanni)
A Sinai hooktail spotted in the Arava Desert in southern Israel. (Itai Shanni)

A “bio-blitz,” which saw nature experts and members of the public surveying wildlife over an intensive 24 hours at a desert kibbutz in southern Israel, revealed a species of dragonfly not yet recorded in the country.

The Sinai hooktail — usually found close to rivers and freshwater springs — is typically found in Egypt, Niger, Oman, Saudia Arabia, Sudan, Yemen, Chad, and the United Arab Emirates.

Members of Kibbutz Neot Smadar, local schoolchildren, and students from the Arava Institute for Environmental Studies joined experts in ecology and biodiversity to comb every part of the kibbutz and its environs. The aim was to record the wildlife, examine what might be negatively affecting biodiversity and assess what could be done to encourage it.

The dragonfly was spotted by Rea Shaish, a master’s student researching dragonfly migration at the University of Haifa.

To date, 67 species of dragonflies and damselflies have been recorded in Israel. Some went extinct after the draining of marshlands in the Hula Valley in northern Israel. Others are in danger of extinction.

The survey was carried out as part of a joint initiative of the not-for-profit Society for the Protection of Nature and the Environmental Protection Ministry.

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