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No distress for Cairngorms damsels

1st August 2005

A species of damselfly not officially recorded in the Cairngorms for over 20 years is alive and well in and around the Grantown-on-Spey area.

Two eagle-eyed staff members from the Cairngorms National Park Authority spotted the blue-tailed damselfly on a recent lunch break.

Local Biodiversity Action Plan Officer Stephen Corcoran said: “Adult dragonflies and damselflies are some of the largest and most spectacular insects alive today and their beautiful colours, impressive aerobatic skills and preference for flying in warm, sunny weather make them very conspicuous.

“We have discovered five other local sites for blue-tailed damselflies which have a very bright blue segment at the end of their dark bodies. I’d encourage people to come forward with any other sightings of these amazing insects as recording is essential to help map their distribution and identify important areas for dragonflies.”

The Cairngorms National Park is home to many rare species and nearly the entire population of the rarest damselfly in Britain, the Northern Damselfly, can be found in the Cairngorms. At least nine species of dragonfly and six species of damselfly are on the wing in the Cairngorms with July and August the best time to see them.

From plain but gruesome water-living larvae to the brilliantly coloured adult flyers, dragonflies are harmless to humans. They prefer slow moving burns, ponds, lochs, pools, ditches and other wetlands.

Places like Abernethy, Insh Marshes and Dinnet are good sites to see dragonflies, as are small water areas in Glenmore and Inshriach forests.

The best way to help these fantastic creatures is to create a pond with plenty of shallow edges, native plant species and avoid stocking it with fish.  Even a pond the size of a dining room table is big enough to support dragonflies.

For more information about dragonflies and damselflies, contact the British Dragonfly Society at  People are encouraged to send their sightings of dragonflies for the Cairngorms to Stephen Corcoran on 01479 870528 or [email protected].