Wednesday, 16 September 2015

Poor summer led to delayed dragonfly emergence

The UK’s poor summer has meant garden dragonflies have been slow to emerge, according to preliminary British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) Garden BirdWatch results. Reports of common garden dragonflies, such as Large Red Damselfly, peaked much later this year than in previous years.

Large Red Damselfly
Many of our common garden dragonfly species emerge as adults in June and July, spend a few weeks on the wing, lay their eggs and then die. Our most common garden dragonfly is the Large Red Damselfly, which in 2013 was seen in 15% of Garden BirdWatch gardens at its peak in late May. It is one of the earliest emerging dragonflies and usually peaks in May, but this year it only reached a peak of 12 percent and not until early June, a week later than witnessed in 2014.

The Large Red Damselfly was not the only dragonfly to attain its peak later than in previous years. The Common Blue Damselfly was seen at its highest peak this year, in 10.4 percent of Garden BirdWatch gardens, but peaked three weeks later than in 2014, in early July. This pattern was also seen in Azure Damselfly, which is usually most common in June.

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