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Dragonflies and Damseflies

There are 9 species of the Odonata (an order of carnivorous insects including dragonflies and damselflies) recorded from the Outer Hebrides plus an unconfirmed record of Azure Damselfly from Lewis. The latter species is similar to Common Blue Damselfly and requires close examination. This is only a fraction of the British list which currently stands at 57 species with around 40 regularly breeding here. The remaining 17 species are rare migrants, with some occasionally breeding.

Of the other 9 species two are uncommon; Golden-ringed Dragonfly (Cordulegaster boltonii) and Emerald Damselfly (Lestes sponsa). The latter has been recorded from Barra and more recently from Lewis and South Uist. They are probably more widespread than currently known and searching suitable habitat at the relevant time of year could be quite revealing. The former species is a very distinctive and obvious dragonfly that is readily identified. It would seem that the Golden-ringed Dragonfly is indeed scarce here and is not recorded every year.

The rest are widespread and commonly encountered.

Large Red Damselfly Large Red Damselfly Common Blue Damselfly Blue-tailed Damselfly Blue-tailed Damselfly Blue-tailed Damselfly

Large Red Damselfly (Pyrrhosoma nymphula): adults are on the wing from May - August although in warm springs can be found from April onwards.

Common Blue Damselfly (Enallagma cyathigerum): adults may be found May - August and occasionally April - September.

Blue-tailed Damselfly (Ischnura elegans): tends to emerge as an aduly a little later than the above species, being mainly found from mid-May until mid-September.

Common Hawker Four-spotted Chaser Black Darter Common Darter

Common Hawker (Aeshna juncea): adults are usually seen from July - September although small numbers are regularly seen into October in more sheltered locations.

Four-spotted Chaser (Libellula quadrimaculata): the main flight period is from May - late August.

Black Darter (Sympetrum danae): main flight period is from July - September with individuals into October.

Common Darter (Sympetrum striolatum): seen on the wing from June - September.