Glen Affric haven for dragonflies

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1 MAY 2014NEWS RELEASE No: 16261

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A survey of two Highland SSSI sites has revealed that they are secret havens for dragonflies and damselflies.

The Glen Affric and Loch Bran sites, both of which are managed by Forestry Commission Scotland and Scottish Natural Heritage, are amongst the top four sites in the Highlands (as well as Abernethy/Rothiemurchus and Ben Ae/Loch Maree-side) for spotting a wide range of these insects, including some of Britain’s most vulnerable – and rare – species.

Giles Brockman, Environment Manager with Forestry Commission Scotland’s Inverness, Ross & Skye team, said:

“Last summer’s survey has revealed these sites as top spots for these beautiful, colourful insects. The survey found 12 species – with evidence that ten of them are breeding – but we know that as many as 15 species are here. so they’ve obviously benefited from the good weather we had last year.

“Getting the conditions right for dragonflies and damselflies is a big part of the work that drives our environment programme in the area. With the helpful input of site condition monitoring to checks carried out by Scottish Natural Heritage, we do what we can to give these amazing insects a boost. Our work – and the great summer weather we had last year – seems to be exactly what the dragonflies need!”

Jonathan Willet, the surveyor for SNH, said:

"Glen Affric was a superb area to survey for the variety of species found there, it is certainly one for the best sites to see dragonflies in the Highlands. Just about all of them can be seen from the footpath round Coire Loch, a popular circular walk in the nature reserve.

“Loch Bran is another fantasic site, it doesn't have the same variety of species as Glen Affric but it is the most reliable site in the Highlands to see the Brilliant Emerald Dragonfly. If you see this dragonfly with the sun illuminating its metallic green body, you will not forget it in a hurry."

The 12 species recorded in the 2013 survey at Glen Affric were:

• Black darter
• Blue-tailed damselfly
• Common blue damselfly (not breeding)
• Common darter (not breeding)
• Common hawker
• Downy Emerald (rare)
• Emerald damselfly
• Four-spotted chaser
• Golden-ringed dragonfly
• Large red damselfly
• Southern hawker
• White-faced darter (vulnerable)

The species recorded at Loch Bran were:

  • Black darter
  • Blue-tailed damselfly
  • Brilliant emerald
  • Common blue damselfly
  • Common darter
  • Common hawker
  • Emerald damselfly
  • Four-spotted chaser
  • Golden-ringed dragonfly
  • Large red damselfly

The British Dragonfly Society’s maintains a red list of endangered species and of the four classed as vulnerable, three are known to exist in Affric, although only one of these vulnerable species was recorded in this survey. (The two other vulnerable species that have been recorded in previous surveys are the Azure Hawker and the Brilliant Emerald).

Notes to Editors
1. Forestry Commission Scotland is part of the Scottish Government's Environment & Forestry Directorate

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3. Tha FCS ag obair mar bhuidheann-stiùiridh coilltearachd Riaghaltas na h-Alba agus a' riaghladh nan 660,000 heactairean ann an Oighreachd na Coille Nàiseanta, a' dìonadh, a' cumail smachd air agus a' leudachadh nan coilltean gus buannachdan a thoirt dha coimhearsnachdan, an eaconamaidh agus, ag obair an aghaidh atharrachadh gnàth-shìde.