The emergence patterns of tropical odonates (dragonflies and damselflies) are scarcely known. We studied the emergence patterns of odonates in a freshwater lotic system in Giro, Northern Santiago de Cuba, between January and December 2008. We visited the locality between 09:00 and 14:00, on a weekly basis, and collected exuviae from a fixed section (8 x 1 m2) offshore, along the riparian vegetation. We collected data on species composition and, for each species, abundance, relative biomass and emergence pattern. We collected 443 exuviae belonging to 22 species: seven Zygoptera and 15 Anisoptera. Half of the annual Odonata emergence took place in the dry season (December to March) with the highest value in February (25 %). For species for which we found seven or more exuviae per month, Enallagma coecum and Macrothemis celeno tended to be a synchronal emergence. We also found temporal segregation of the emergence pattern between M. celeno and Protoneura capillaris, Neoneura maria, Progomphus integer and Scapanea frontalis. These differences were probably related to the highest annual fluctuations of temperature, relative humidity and number of rainy days per month. We concluded that there is an asynchrony and heterogeneity in Odonata emergence times in the studied freshwater lotic system.
Keywords: Odonata, exuviae, emergence patterns, climatic factors, Cuba