species of the week #10 -pygmy damselfly

The distribution area of the pygmy damselfly reaches from Central Europe to Siberia and Japan. For the whole of Europe a declining tendency can be observed. In Rhineland-Palatinate the pygmy damselfly is extinct. In the red list of Germany the species is classified as “threatened with extinction”.

Distribution status  Extinct in Rhineland-Palatinate
Remaining deposits  Bavaria, Lower Saxony
Last sighting in Rhineland-Palatinate Maudacher Bruch
Habitat  Sedge swamps with low vegetation and constant water level
Threats of drainage, climate change, eutrophication

With a body length of two to two and a half centimeters, the pygmy damselfly is the smallest Central European dragonfly species and has very special demands on its developmental waters. Nutrient content and water level must remain as constant as possible. Richly dense sedges on the shore at low growth height are the main habitat of these extremely location-faithful insects. At these locations they are usually the only dragonfly species. Since the pygmy damselfly reacts to even the smallest changes in nutrient inputs or inflows and outflows of its developmental waters, its habitats – special types of bog – must be intensively protected.
pygmy damselfly are very lazy in flight and their flight seems awkward. Completely contrary to this is their “dance” ability. When males and females meet during the mating season, they fly up and down in front of each other on the spot, some dragonfly fans rave about an elfin dance.

Politically necessary:
– Intensive bog protection
– Stricter rules for air pollution control
– Containment of eutrophication

Picture: By Andreas Thomas Hein – Own work, CC BY 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=16982364

An overview of all species of the week can be found here.