species of the week #5 – small red damsfly

Distribution status  Extinct in Rhineland-Palatinate
Remaining occurrences At Lake Constance, in the Black Forest, in Lower Saxony
Last sighting in Rhineland-Palatinate 1980 in the Bitburg-Prüm district
Habitat Sour brooks and moors
Threat  Disappearance of bogs, road construction

The small red damsfly, is a very conspicuous dragonfly – one of the few red dragonfly species in Europe. It grows only 3.5 cm tall and is atypically location-loyal for dragonflies. It moves a maximum of 300 m away from its waters. It preys on mosquitoes and gnats up to its own size and weight.

It is a pointer species for acidic, slowly flowing, not shaded streams and stagnant waters, since it only occurs there. The last proven site in Rhineland-Palatinate in 1980 was destroyed by the construction of a highway bridge pier. Also at all other suitable sites the species could not be detected despite intensive search.

Politically necessary:
– Technical and legal protection of the Natura 2000 areas
– Designation of further sites for calcareous swamps and bogs
– Preservation of existing bogs
– Promotion of the rewetting of drained wetlands

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

Picture: Two Delicate Ruby Virgins, below females above males, Photographer: Christian Fischer