Monday, 13 March 2017

Willow Emerald Watch

Just 25 years ago, the Willow Emerald Damselfly had only been reliably recorded in the UK on 2 occasions, in 1979 and 1992. A single individual was then recorded in southeast Suffolk during 2007, followed in 2009 by a sudden boom of 400 records of the species from this same general area (SE Suffolk/NE Essex). Since this time, the Willow Emerald has spread rapidly across the south-east of England, gaining footholds in new counties on a yearly basis.

The natural colonisation and spread of this damselfly in the UK is incredible. It is important we track the species in order to understand how it is spreading so rapidly and what might limit the species in the future. For this reason, the British Dragonfly Society (BDS) have developed the ‘Willow Emerald Watch’ project.

The BDS are keen to continue following the progress of this beautiful little damselfly and are recruiting as many volunteers as possible to get involved with recording, in particular in those counties bordering the species’ range so far.  Follow this link for more information.  All records of the Willow Emerald help to build on what is known of this fascinating new species in the UK.

The scars left behind on Goat Willow (left) and Crack Willow (right) by Willow Emerald Damselfly egg laying behaviour. The scars differ in appearance depending on the tree species used. 

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