Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Trends in British dragonfly species revealed in new atlas

Date:
May 28, 2014
Source:
Centre for Ecology and Hydrology
Summary:
A new atlas of the dragonflies of Britain and Ireland is published today. The atlas is the result of a five year research project by the British Dragonfly Society (BDS) which builds on data collected over the last two centuries.

Blue tailed Damselfly, female.
Credit: Steve Cham

A new atlas of the dragonflies of Britain and Ireland is published today. The atlas is the result of a five year research project by the British Dragonfly Society (BDS) which builds on data collected over the last two centuries.

Dragonflies are regarded as good indicators of wetland health and climate change. The new atlas shows how some species have expanded their ranges -- northwards in particular -- and apparently consolidated their previous ranges. In contrast, a few species have declined and/or retreated northwards, perhaps also resulting from warmer temperatures.

Sir David Attenborough, the British Dragonfly Society Patron who contributed the foreword to the new atlas, commented that the publication is "An invaluable distillation of the wisdom and experience of those who have spent many long hours watching these most wonderful of insects."

The new atlas covers the distribution of all 57 species of dragonfly recorded since records began, including all of the resident and regular migrant species, as well as all known vagrants -- individual insects appearing well outside their normal range -- up to 2012.

The Atlas completes a mapping project that lasted from 2008 to 2012 resulting in the gathering of nearly half a million records from over six and a half thousand people. The new dataset has been combined with over half a million previous records collected by dragonfly recorders since the 19th century.

The Atlas is more than just maps and distribution. It also contains an analysis of the trends in status of dragonflies in Britain and Ireland since 1980, and sections on habitats, environmental factors, phenology, recording and data collection.

The data in the atlas show:

  • Fourteen (31%) of the 42 established breeding species have expanded their ranges, including the Scarce Chaser and the Red-eyed Damselfly, and appear to have benefited from a warming climate, together with a general increase in the number and quality of wetlands.
  • Eight species (19%) have declined including the Scarce Blue-tailed Damselfly and the White-faced Darter. The reasons for this change are not fully understood, but may include climate change and/or habitat loss or deterioration.
  • Three species were lost from Britain in the 20th century, but one of these has recently recolonised (the Dainty Damselfly in Kent).
  • Five new species have colonised or attempted to colonise Britain since a previous atlas was published in 1996 including the Small Red-eyed Damselfly. Two new species have also colonised Ireland since 1990.
  • No less than seven species have appeared in Britain and five species in Ireland for the first time since 1990, including the Willow Emerald Damselfly.
  • The most commonly recorded species, with 115,375 records, is the Blue-tailed Damselfly, closely followed by the Common Darter with 103,251 records.
  • The most widespread species was the Large Red Damselfly, which was found in 80% of the hectads -- 10 km x 10 km Ordnance Survey grid squares -- from which dragonflies were recorded during 1991-2012.

Steve Cham of the British Dragonfly Society said, "On behalf of the British Dragonfly Society, I would like to pay tribute to the huge effort made by thousands of recorders and volunteer data collators in gathering data for the atlas. Dragonflies have captured the imagination of people for centuries, but we never envisaged that so many people would contribute records. This staggering response has enabled us to assess changes to the distribution of dragonflies over time. We hope that this publication will inspire people to continue to contribute to this long-term study."

Dr Helen Roy from the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology leads zoological recording for the Biological Records Centre, the UK's national focus for terrestrial and freshwater species recording. She said, "This atlas represents inspiring contributions from many, many volunteers across Britain and Ireland. Dragonflies are charismatic and popular insects but they also provide an important insight into the ways in which our environment is changing. So not only is the atlas another wonderful example of citizen science but it is also providing valuable scientific evidence."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Centre for Ecology and Hydrology. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Centre for Ecology and Hydrology. "Trends in British dragonfly species revealed in new atlas." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 28 May 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/05/140528103310.htm>.
Centre for Ecology and Hydrology. (2014, May 28). Trends in British dragonfly species revealed in new atlas. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 31, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/05/140528103310.htm
Centre for Ecology and Hydrology. "Trends in British dragonfly species revealed in new atlas." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/05/140528103310.htm (accessed July 31, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Visitors Feel Part of the Pack at Wolf Preserve

Visitors Feel Part of the Pack at Wolf Preserve

AP (July 31, 2014) — Seacrest Wolf Preserve on the northern Florida panhandle allows more than 10,000 visitors each year to get up close and personal with Arctic and British Columbian Wolves. (July 31) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Florida Panther Rebound Upsets Ranchers

Florida Panther Rebound Upsets Ranchers

AP (July 31, 2014) — With Florida's panther population rebounding, some ranchers complain the protected predators are once again killing their calves. (July 31) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida

Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida

AP (July 31, 2014) — Sarasota County, Florida health officials have issued a warning against eating raw oysters and exposing open wounds to coastal and inland waters after a dangerous bacteria killed one person and made another sick. (July 31) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle

Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle

AP (July 30, 2014) — Thousands of people are trekking to a Bavarian farmer's field to check out a mysterious set of crop circles. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



    Save/Print:
    Share:  

    Free Subscriptions


    Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

    Get Social & Mobile


    Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

    Have Feedback?


    Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
    Mobile iPhone Android Web
    Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
    Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
    Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins