North Merseyside Biodiversity Action Plan Dragonflies

By | January 1, 2008

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North Merseyside Biodiversity Action Plan

Dragonflies

1 Current status
1.1 National
Twenty-one species of dragonflies have been reliably recorded in North Merseyside. Three of these are rare vagrants from the continent or species that are beginning to colonise southern England. The others are relatively common nationally, though six are largely confined to southern and eastern England and have been extending their range north and west in recent years. Eight species, including the three vagrants, have only been recorded here since 1989.

1.2 Local
Eighteen of the 21 species have certainly bred in the region (Table 1). Six species, namely Red-eyed Damselfly Erythromma najas, Broad-bodied Chaser Libellula depressa, Black-tailed Skimmer Orthetrum cancellatum Common Hawker Aeshna juncea, Ruddy Darter Sympetrum sanguineum and Black Darter Sympetrum danae, have highly restricted breeding distributions in North Merseyside.

Table 1. Dragonflies and damselflies reliably recorded in North Merseyside.
Anisoptera
Emperor dragonfly Anax imperator B
Lesser Emperor Anax parthenope V
Southern Hawker Aeshna cyanea LB
Common Hawker Aeshna juncea RB
Brown Hawker Aeshna grandis B
Migrant Hawker Aeshna mixta LB
Broad-bodied Chaser Libellula depressa LB
Four-spotted Chaser Libellula quadrimaculata LB
Black-tailed Skimmer Orthetrum cancellatum LB
Common Darter Sympetrum striolatum B
Ruddy Darter Sympetrum. sanguineum RB
Black Darter Sympetrum. danae RB
Yellow-winged Darter Sympetrum flaveolum V
Red-veined Darter Sympetrum fonscolombii V

Zygoptera
Blue-tailed damselfly Ischnura elegans B
Emerald damselfly Lestes sponsa LB
Azure damselfly Coenagrion puella B
Common Blue damselfly Enallagma cyathigerum B
Large Red damselfly Pyrrhosoma nymphula LB
Red-eyed damselfly Erythromma najas RB
Banded Demoiselle Calopteryx splendens LB
B = widespread breeder ; LB = local breeder; RB = rare breeder; V = vagrant

The Sefton Coast sand-dune system is considered to be nationally important for this group of insects with 11 breeding species.
Another regionally important locality is Colliers (Bold) Moss, St Helens with 17 species recorded in recent years, 14 of them regularly breeding.
Red-eyed Damselfly breeds at only one locality, Eccleston Dams in St Helens.