By Felicity James, ABC News

A new smartphone app for identifying dragonflies in Australia's tropical regions promises to share and expand research on the insect.

Part of Northern Territory folklore, flocks of dragonflies are viewed as a sign the dry season is about to begin.

Dragonfly expert Professor Jenny Davis from Charles Darwin University created the app to remove some of the mystery surrounding the insect after studying it in Kakadu National Park.

"There's something like 300 species and 100 of those occur here in the north, so we have a third of Australia's fauna."

The species seen in the Northern Territory at the end of the wet season live in temporary water bodies, which become dry, Professor Davis said.

"Those big flocks are flying around looking for mates," she said.

"Once they mate, they're then going to look for somewhere to lay their eggs and the eggs will sit there until the next wet season."

More than 50 species of dragonfly have been included in the Identifly app, which Professor Davis said would be useful for dragonfly-watchers beyond the Northern Territory.

According to Professor Davis, the dragonflies included in the app could be spotted from Cape York to the Kimberley and in neighbouring countries such as Indonesia and Timor-Leste.



Photo: Ian Baird
Photo: Matt B, ABC Open