Rare damselfly is increasing its range across England

The rare willow emerald damselfly has been seen for the first time as far west as Buckinghamshire in the UK. 

Rare damselfly is increasing its range across England
The willow emerald damselfly is becoming a more regular sight in Britain due to climate change. ©Harry Appleyard/The Parks Trust


This recent resident was first recorded in Britain in 2009, and since then numbers of willow emerald damselflies have increased along England’s southeast coastline. But this is the first time that the insect has been recorded further west.

The Parks Trust’s volunteer Harry Appleyard spotted the metallic green damselfly at Tattenhoe Valley Park, Milton Keynes, along with Martin Kincaid, Biodiversity Officer for the The Parks Trust, where they observed the female laying eggs on a goat willow tree beside a pond.

“This is a really exciting discovery and full credit to Harry who walks this patch regularly and reports the wildlife he finds,” said Kincaid.

“This is one of a number of insects which is increasing its range in the UK with climate change and it’s great that the first Bucks record has come from Milton Keynes.”

Since its first sighting in the city on 29 September, the willow emerald damselfly has been regularly sighted in Milton Keynes, indicating that this recent colonist is here to stay. 

Although the willow emerald is a mid-summer to mid-autumn species, some can still be seen into November. 

Read more wildlife news stories in BBC Wildlife Magazine

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