Dragonfly Ireland Survey
Dragonfly Ireland 2019 – 2024 is an All-Ireland survey run jointly by the National Biodiversity Data Centre and the Centre for Environmental Data and Recording in Northern Ireland, and funded by the Environmental Protection Agency. The project aims to:
- Achieve an increase in validated dragonfly and damselfly species records contributing towards a 2024 Dragonfly Ireland Atlas.
- Assess of the value of Dragonflies and Damselflies as bio-indicators of freshwater habitat quality and climate change.
- Highlight the impacts of climate change and water quality on freshwater ecosystems in Ireland and promote practical measures we as individuals can take to reduce these impacts.
Dragonflies and damselflies on your farm
Dragonflies and damselflies are associated with wetlands which can be anything from a garden or farm pond, to a drainage ditch, river or stream. The distribution of dragonfly and damselfly species and their ability to complete their life cycle is ultimately determined by the suitability of the habitat and environmental conditions. Habitats must provide suitable conditions for dragonflies and damselflies during their development and breeding stage and provide shelter and food.
Agriculture can put pressures on water quality through slurry pollution and sedimentation, pesticides and fertilisers, waterside habitat management, impacts of drainage, and livestock impacts. Dragonflies and damselflies typically spend 1 to 2 years of their lives (but can spend up to 5 years) as aquatic larva (nymphs), requiring good water quality to survive to adulthood. They react quickly to changes in environmental quality and this makes them excellent bio-indicators of water quality and freshwater habitat quality on farmland.
Dragonflies offer ecosystem services on farms, killing many flying pest species including midges and mosquitos.
Get to know the dragonflies and damselflies on your farm
Whether you are completely new to or experienced in recording dragonflies and damselflies, it is always good to review and build on your knowledge. The National Biodiversity Data Centre have resources available to you to build your identification skills:
- We have small hand held identification guides or ‘swatches’ available through our shop
- Dragonfly Ireland have free video workshops available on their webpage
Ways to get involved
Dragonfly Ireland offers three different ways of participating:
- Dragonfly Spotter encourages the submission of casual sightings of any dragonfly or damselfly species.
- Dragonfly Recorder asks volunteers to conduct two timed surveys of a freshwater site, recording all dragonfly and damselfly species that are present, and assess their habitat in May/June and the second between July and September.
- Dragonfly Monitor asks volunteers to conduct four surveys at their local site, and to repeat surveys annually.
Find out more about Dragonfly Ireland
Send us a picture of the wetlands on your farm through
As part of the Festival of Farmland Biodiversity, we are asking for photos of ponds in order to build photo gallery of ponds around Ireland to show their characteristics and benefits to biodiversity. Head over to the Protect Ponds for more details.
If you have any questions related to Dragonfly Ireland, please contact DragonflyIreland@biodiversityireland.ie
The National Biodiversity Data Centre has developed online training modules in identifying Irish Dragonfly and Damselfly species, for this wishing to get involved in the Dragonfly Ireland 2019 – 2024 survey. The modules provide details of the identification features to look out for and a general introduction to the Dragonflies and Damselflies. The modules cover:
- Introduction to Dragonflies & Damselflies
- Damselflies: The Green and Red Damselflies (5 species)
- Damselflies: The Blue Damselflies (6 species)
- Test Your Knowledge Quiz – Name that Damsel!
- Dragonflies: Hawkers and Emperors (8 species)
- Dragonflies: Chasers, Skimmers & Darters (9 species)
- Test Your Knowledge Quiz – Name that Dragon!
We will be adding additional content on how to conduct site surveys for the Dragonfly Recorder and Dragonfly Monitor surveys in the near future.
This course can be used to complement our ‘swatches’ which are small handheld identification guides that are useful to have to hand when you are surveying. Swatches can be purchased through our online shop
Please go to the Dragonfly Ireland Resources Page for our online modules in dragonfly and damselfly identification.