Christchurch Harbour Odonata List


Dragonflies and damselflies, the order odonata , are an obvious and vibrant addition to the summer fauna in Christchurch Harbour, and CHOG has sought to record these over the years as part of their role. The first annual dragonfly records date back to 1969, and a debt of gratitude is owed to the late Cecil Pepin and more recently Paul Morrison in collating and summarising this information in various CHOG reports.

Since the 1990s, however, the formal recording of odonata in CHOGs annual reports has been somewhat more sporadic, and this is probably reflected in the under-recording of many species.

It seemed timely, therefore, to produce a summary list of the status of the twenty-six species currently recorded in the harbour, with brief notes on their status. Hopefully, this may act as a catalyst to encourage more regular inclusion of dragonfly and damselfly records.

Chris Chapleo

CHOG Odonata List

Banded Demoiselle   Calopteryx splendens
Mentioned as being annual since mid 1980s by PM (1987) and currently occasionally recorded along the Purewell Stream and River Avon at Stanpit.

Emerald Damselfly   Lestes sponsa
Regular but never common. PM (1987) mentions a small resident population and has been recorded in very small numbers in recent years on Hengistbury ponds.

Large Red Damselfly   Pyrrhosoma nymphula
Recorded annually and fairly common.

Small Red Damselfly  Ceriagrion tenellum
Quite common in small numbers - recorded annually.

Azure Damselfly   Coenagrion lunulatum
Common, with a large resident population emerging in June.

Common Blue Damselfly   Enallagma cyathigerum
Very common from July to September around ponds.

Scarce Blue-tailed Damselfly   Ischnura pumilio
Described by PM (1987) as an "extremely rare vagrant". Recorded in 1982 and 1983, but not since, although this may well be due to lack of recording coverage.

Blue-tailed Damselfly   Ischnura elegans
Common from July to September.

Red-eyed Damselfly   Erythromma najas
Occasionally recorded in the Nursery ponds in 2005-2007, but not certainly established. The most recent addition to the harbour Odonata list.

Hairy Dragonfly   Brachytron pratense
Scarce. PM cites records in 1969, 1971, 1982-84 and 1986. Not recorded again until one in June 2009, although, in common with many species, probably under recorded.

Common Hawker   Aeshna juncea
Reasonably regular, but less common than previous species. In common with Aeshna cyanea , small resident population (PM 1987).

Migrant Hawker  Aeshna mixta
PM (1987) describes this species as a "rare vagrant", but it has undoubtedly become more regular since then. Particularly recorded in autumn in variable numbers.

Southern Hawker   Aeshna cyanea
Regular small numbers from July to September. Small resident population according to PM (1987).

Brown Hawker   Aeshna grandis
Described by PM (1987) as an "extremely rare vagrant". In recent years it has become somewhat more regular but still scarce, and is seen in most years, e.g. two sightings in late July 2007.

Emperor   Anax imperator
Regular but small numbers from a resident population. Anecdotal evidence suggests that the species has become slightly more common in recent years.

Golden-ringed Dragonfly   Cordulegaster boltonii
PM (1987) cites only one record of this species, in 1974. This remains as the sole harbour record.

Downy Emerald   Cordulia aenea
Very rare. Only two records with the last in 1992 (PM).

Four-spotted Chaser   Libellula quadrimaculata
Present in small numbers on the few warm days in late June and July.

Scarce Chaser   Libellula fulva
PM (1992) mentions a small colony at a stream on Stanpit, although this species has not been recorded since, until one in 2009.

Broad-bodied Chaser   Libellula depressa
Regular in small numbers. PM (1987) mentions a small resident population, which may still be the case.

Black-tailed Skimmer   Orthetrum cancellatum
Described by PM (1987) as "very scarce", but likely to colonise. This was proved right, as the species now seems to be quite common in June and July, particularly around the Ironstone Quarry.

Keeled Skimmer  Orthetrum coerulescen
Three records are cited by PM (1987), but it has seemingly not been recorded since 1979.

Common Darter   Sympetrum striolatum
Large resident population. A common dragonfly from early August until October around the Nursery pools and the Lily Pond.

Ruddy Darter Sympetrum sanguineum
PM (1987) mentions irregular records from several years between 1979 and 1987, but it is seemingly not annual and the only recent record was in 2008.

Black Darter   Sympetrum danae
Mentioned as recorded in 1970s-1980s (PM 1987) and apparently bred, most recently in 1972, but occurrences are sporadic and not annual. Again possibly under recorded.

Red-veined Darter   Sympetrum fonscolombei
One record, a single on 10 September 1987 (PM), of this migrant from continental Europe.

P . Morrison (1992) "Invertebrate Summary 1992" , The Birds of Christchurch Harbour 1992, CHOG.
P. Morrison (1987) "Dragonflies of Christchurch Harbour ", The Birds of Christchurch Harbour 1987, CHOG.
C.E. Pepin (1982) "An insect summer at Hengistbury" , The Birds of Christchurch Harbour 1982, CHOG.
C.E.Pepin (1971) "Dragonflies at Hengistbury Head" , The Birds of Christchurch Harbour 1971, CHOG.

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