Dragonflies disappear around the world as wetlands are lost
The International Union for Conservation of Nature has conducted its first ever global Red List assessment of Odonata (dragonflies). The study concluded that 16% of 6,016 species assessed are at risk of extinction.
The species’ decline correlates to the deterioration and destruction of their wetland breeding habitats. Habitat loss, in many countries, is linked to the drainage of wetland areas to make way for agriculture and urban development, while threats such as pollution and the introduction of invasive species can significantly impact dragonfly aquatic larvae survival. In addition, climate change is having dramatic impacts on wetlands on a global scale; for example, through changes in rainfall patterns.
The decline in dragonfly species is a big red flag indicating the plight of our world’s wetland ecosystems.
“By revealing the global loss of dragonflies, today’s Red List update underscores the urgent need to protect the world’s wetlands and the rich tapestry of life they harbour. Globally, these ecosystems are disappearing three times faster than forests,” said Dr Bruno Oberle, IUCN Director General. “Marshes and other wetlands may seem unproductive and inhospitable to humans, but in fact they provide us with essential services. They store carbon, give us clean water and food, protect us from floods, as well as offer habitats for one in ten of the world’s known species.”
Image: Black Darter by David Kitching