Course: Damselflies of the UK Part 1

Biological Recording Company Ltd

2nd October 2024

Cost: £10

Sectors: conservation & wildlife, ecology

The UK is home to 20 species of Damselfly (Zygoptera) that breed in the UK. Alongside Dragonflies, the Damselflies make up the order Odonata. These predatory insects are known for their fascinating life cycles, dazzling colours and impressive flight abilities.

This presentation will explore the demoiselle, emerald, red and red-eyed species of damselflies that breed within the UK. We’ll discuss how these 10 species can be distinguished from one another and delve into interesting aspects of their ecology and behaviour. We’ll look at their geographic distributions and consider their rarity and conservation status.

At the end of the session, learners should feel more comfortable submitting records of the following species to iRecord:

  • Banded Demoiselle (Calopteryx splendens)
  • Beautiful Demoiselle (Calopteryx virgo)
  • Emerald Damselfly (Lestes sponsa)
  • Scarce Emerald Damselfly (Lestes dryas)
  • Willow Emerald Damselfly (Chalcolestes viridis)
  • Southern Emerald Damselfly (Lestes barbarus)
  • Large Red Damselfly (Pyrrhosoma nymphula)
  • Small Red Damselfly (Ceriagrion tenelium)
  • Red-eyed Damselfly (Erythromma najas)
  • Small Red-eyed Damselfly (Erythromma viridulum)

The 90-minute event will consist of a 1-hour presentation followed by a Q&A with the tutor using questions provided by the live audience. 

This webinar will be recorded and the presentation will be made available following the event to those booked alongside a transcript of the Q&A and useful links.

This webinar is the first in a series of 2 webinars covering the 20 species of damselfly that
are known to breed in the UK. Part 2 will focus on blue damselflies (including blue-tailed

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Dragonfly & Damselfly Specialist: Dave Smallshire

Dave Smallshire was an agri-environment adviser to farmers and the government before taking early retirement in 2006. He’s been an avid birdwatcher for nearly 60 years, travelling extensively in Europe and Africa, with visits to several parts of North, Central & South America and Asia. Although a competent all-round naturalist, his early career as an agricultural entomologist led to an interest in butterflies and dragonflies some 40 years ago; the latter have taken up increasing amounts of his time in recent years.

He is a member of the Dragonfly Conservation Group of the British Dragonfly Society and is a former trustee of the charity. He’s led countless dragonfly training events, which resulted in co-authoring (with Andy Swash) the highly-acclaimed field guide, 'Britain's Dragonflies'. He has pioneered dragonfly-watching holidays to countries such as Bulgaria, France, Turkey, Costa Rica, Panama, Brazil, South Africa and Sri Lanka. He is heavily engaged in bird, dragonfly and other ecological surveys and conservation in Devon, UK, where he’s lived for 36 years, but above all else, he loves to find and show people wildlife, preferably in exotic places!

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