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Sunday, 19 August 2012

Small Red-eyed Damselfly at WWT Llanelli

male Small Red-eyed Damselfly
Rob Taylor found some Small Red-eyed Damselfly flying in front of the Sir Peter Scott hide at Penclacwydd, this afternoon. I managed to get down to see them late afternoon by which time, the numbers on view from the hide had risen to being 50+. Alongside the good numbers of very territorial males, an ovipositing tandem pair was also on view.
Apart from size the diagnostic features for male Small Red-eyed Damselfly are found on the abdomen, which is divided into 10 segments. Segment 1 (S1) is attached to the thorax, and the segments are numbered sequentially to Segment 10 (S10) which is the very end segment. On male Small Red-eyed Damselfly there is more blue on the abdomen, S1 is completely blue and blue is found on the side of S2 and even the underside of S3. On male Red-eyed Damselfly the blue near the thorax is confined to S1 only. The other difference lies at the the other end of the abdomen; male Small Red-eyed Damselfly show complete blue on S10 and S9 but also a significant amount of blue on the side and underside of S8. On male Red-eyed Damselfly the blue is confined to S10 and S9.
I've included a record shot of a male Red-eyed Damselfly, taken earlier in the year at Neath Canal, for comparison.
male Red-Eyed Damselfly
The Small Red-eyed Damselfly was first discovered in the UK in 1999, at Essex (Brooks). Since then it has been spreading west through England but that expansion seems to have slowed considerably recently. An early feeling is that this find may represent one of, if not the, first records for Wales. However, similar resources show a lack of Red-eyed Damselfly in Wales when we know it has been established for a number of years. It will be interesting to hear news of any records previous to this one, from Wales. Whatever the case it is now in Llanelli and it would seem likely that it is to be found between there and the English border? With 50+ flying today it would appear that now is a good time to look for it.
I've attached a link below which will take you to the British Dragonflies website page for Small Red-eyed Damselfly where further photos and a distribution map can be found.

http://british-dragonflies.org.uk/species/small-red-eyed-damselfly

1 comment:

Adam mantell said...

A fascinating read Mark. I never cease to be amazed how difficult it is to get accurate information on the distribution and status of species! It makes it very hard for amateurs (who often have the best local knowledge in my experience) to understand the bigger picture which is a shame and a lost opportunity. It would be helpful of the NBN Gateway for one example had a complete set of data in it!