Dragonflies and damselflies

Throughout the country park water is a major feature, there are several small ponds, the Brock and Aurs burns and the large open water of the reservoirs. These habitats provide a home for several species of dragonflies and damselflies.

Dragonflies and damselflies can be spotted in the summer months. One of the best spots to look out for them is the pond at Darnley Mill.  A visit here on a warm summer day and you should see these magnificent creatures flying over the pond or soaking up the sun on the reeds and sedges.

Dragonflies and damselflies spend much of their time living under the water as a larva before climbing up a reed and emerging as adults.

One of the biggest threats to dragonflies is pollution. In the country park the countryside rangers are working with the local community to reduce the amount of the litter that gets thrown into the pond and burn. As well as pollution the destruction of rivers and ponds continues to threaten suitable habitats for these exciting creatures.

More information on what is being done to protect dragonflies and damselflies and enhance their habitats is contained within the Glasgow LBAP.

What is the difference between a dragonfly and a damselfly?

Dragonflies and damselflies are very similar. The best way to tell them apart is that a dragonfly rests with its wings at 90 degrees to its body, while a damselfly folds its wings into its body.

What species can be seen in the country park?

No formal survey of dragonflies and damselflies within the country park has taken place but at least six species have been recorded, another two species are found within Glasgow and so may have been over looked within the country park.

Common blue damselfly (Enallagma cyathigerum)

A bright blue damselfly that is very common and can be seen around most of the ponds.  The males are bright blue.  The females are quite drab by comparison, and usually a dull green colour.

Blue-tailed damselfly (Ischnura elegans)

A dark damselfly with a bright blue band around the base of its tail.

Large red damselfly (Pyrrhosoma nymphula)

A bright red damselfly which can be commonly seen around the country park ponds. One of the first damselflies each year, it can be seen from late April onwards.

Azure damselfly (Coenagrion puella)

Very similar to the common blue damselfly, but this damselfly has a different pattern of markings along its body.

Emerald damselfly (Lestes sponsa)

This damselfly has a metallic green body and the male has a blue tip to its tail. It holds its wings at 45 degrees to its body - different from most other damselflies.

Common darter dragonfly (Sympetrun striolatum)

A medium sized dragonfly, the male is bright red, whilst the female is a yellow/brown colour.

What to keep an eye out for

A number of species of dragonfly have been recorded within the Glasgow area, and as a result are probably also present within the country park, even though they have not been recorded, yet! The four spotted chaser and common hawker are very easy to identify.

Four spotted chaser dragonfly (Libellula quadrimaculata)

A medium sized dragonfly that is easily identified by the four spots on each pair of wings.

Common hawker dragonfly (Aeshna juncea)

The largest of the dragonflies likely to be seen in the country park, it is about 7cm in length and is mainly black, the male has yellow and blue spots along its body, whilst the female has yellow or green spots.

To report recent dragonfly and damselfly sightings visit the wildlife sighting page.

For more information and identification tips visit the British Dragonfly Society.