Species of the week #13-orange-spotted emerald

The orange spotted emerald is easily recognised by the golden yellow longitudinal spots on its abdomen. The dragonfly is 5 to 5.5 cm large and has a wingspan of 6.5 to 7 cm. The name is derived from the central keel on the tenth abdominal segment of the male.

Dissemination status  Extremely rare
Remaining deposits Germany’s last deposit on the Our in the Eifel
Last sighting in Rhineland-Palatinate  2011 in Mettendorf
Habitat Quiet river banks with alders and poplars
Threat of nutrient input, increase in flow velocity, bare river banks

For a long time very little was known about this species of dragonfly. A protection and research project on the Our found out that the dragonfly has very special demands on its habitat. Recent research has shown that the larvae live exclusively in the root network of the woods along the banks, especially alders and willows, but that the females prefer to hunt away from the water. Especially the edges of light, warm forests, extensively used neglected grasslands, orchards and groups of trees and shrubs are of particular importance as hunting and resting biotopes.

They are highly sensitive to interventions in the woody vegetation on the banks, as the shading conditions and thus the microclimatic conditions on the watercourse are changed. Closed planting with alders would lead to the extinction of the population, but the absence of alders as structures for egg deposition and as larval habitat also means the loss of habitat function. In addition, more frequent heavy rainfall events or watercourse straightening would lead to an increase in the flow velocity and tear away the eggs and larvae. This means the total loss of an entire generation of dragonflies.

Politically necessary:
– Securing structural diversity on the Our and other rivers
– Riparian riparian strips, extensive cultivation in the floodplains
– Mandatory environmental assessment for all interventions in water bodies

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

Picture: By Fturmo – Kalugaringon nga buhat, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=46170275