Threatened Dragonflies: Habitat matters

Those concerned about endangered species of dragonflies often focus most of their attention to larval habitat and maintaining aquatic sites with suitable water quality. Research by a group of Czech scientists* challenges the

presumption that the dramatic decline in distribution and abundance of many dragonfly species in temperate climates since the second half of the 20th century is mainly a result of destruction of aquatic habitats, and that protection of these habitats should thus be the primary focus.*

Halloween Pennant

Halloween Pennant

They studied the habitat of adult spotted darter dragonflies, Sympetrum depressiusculum, and found that the terrestrial habitat surrounding the aquatic site could influence whether the aquatic site was suitable or not. Dragonflies were only found in areas with dense vegetation and not found in agricultural areas that were actively managed and disturbed. The dragonflies were primarily found within one kilometer of the larval sites. Efforts at conservation may require terrestrial buffers adjacent to suitable aquatic habitat.

*Dolny ́ A, Harabisˇ F, Mizˇicˇova ́ H (2014) Home Range, Movement, and Distribution Patterns of the Threatened Dragonfly Sympetrum depressiusculum (Odonata: Libellulidae): A Thousand Times Greater Territory to Protect? PLoS ONE 9(7): e100408
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0100408

About jjneal

Jonathan Neal is an Associate Professor of Entomology at Purdue University and author of the textbook, Living With Insects (2010). This blog is a forum to communicate about the intersection of insects with people and policy. This is a personal blog. The opinions and materials posted here are those of the author and are in no way connected with those of my employer.
This entry was posted in by jjneal, Endangered Species, Environment, Policy. Bookmark the permalink.

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