Dragonfly species in Monmouthshire: Golden-ringed Dragonfly

Distribution map of Golden-ringed Dragonfly in Monmouthshire, March 2024
Distribution map of Golden-ringed Dragonfly in Monmouthshire, March 2024, produced using the DMAP for Windows software written by Alan Morton, www.dmap.co.uk

Golden-ringed Dragonfly (Cordulegaster boltonii) is a fairly widespread species in the county, mainly found on rivers and streams in the northwest uplands and western valleys but with many records outside of that area.

The oldest record in our data set is from Piercefield Park, in the Wye Valley near Chepstow, on 14 May 1979 (observer Ian Bolt).

Current distribution in the county: what we know

There are many records throughout a wide area in the west of the county: three-quarters of post-2019 Golden-ringed Dragonfly records fall west of a line from Abergavenny to Newport, and it appears that the species can be found in any suitable habitat in that area.

Away from there, there is a wide scattering of records; some of these may represent breeding sites, but others, such as those along the coast, almost certainly just represent wandering individuals.

Current distribution in the county: what we don’t know

A number of records (both older and more recent) in the Trellech Ridge / Wye valley area and in the Black Mountains indicate that we may also have established populations in the east and north of the county. More recording in those two areas will help to confirm the size and extent of these populations.

As with many species, there is a wide area in the north and centre of the county with no records, or older records only, and further recording here may uncover further sites.

In the northwest there are also many sites where the species has been recorded in the past but not in more recent times, and wider recording here, for example in areas around Ebbw Vale, Tredegar, Pontypool and Abertillery will establish the true extent of Golden-ringed Dragonfly’s western Monmouthshire range.

Distribution elsewhere

Golden-ringed Dragonfly is found widely throughout Wales, and is scarce or absent only in some areas in the north and along the English border. In England it is found widely throughout the southwest peninsula, and parts of southeast England, much of northern England, and locally in the west Midlands; it is also widespread in much of Scotland, particularly in the highlands. Elsewhere in Europe, it is found from Iberia east to at least Poland and possibly Russia, south to central Italy and north to Scandinavia and Finland. It also occurs in northwest Africa. It is replaced in southeastern parts of Europe by other closely-related Cordulegaster species.