Dragonfly species in Monmouthshire: Keeled Skimmer

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

Male and female Keeled Skimmers, photographed by Richard Clarke in Monmouthshire in 2022

Keeled Skimmer (Orthetrum coerulescens) is a localised dragonfly in the county, much less widespread than Black-tailed Skimmer (O. cancellatum).

The oldest record we have in our data set is from The British, northwest of Pontypool, on 25 July 1996 (observer Steve Williams).

Current distribution in the county: what we know

The species is confined to the northwest uplands: there are no records elsewhere in the county. Recent records are from four areas: the moorland around Blaenavon, the areas south and west of Pontypool, the moors south and west of Brynmawr, and the area west of Risca. The two sites in the Risca area were discovered in 2022 by Richard Clarke.

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

There are older records from a scattering of sites elsewhere in the northwest of the county, where the species may still be present, and as the 2022 discoveries west of Risca show, there may be other sites which have not yet been discovered.

Distribution elsewhere

Keeled Skimmer is found quite widely in suitable habitat across southern, central and northwest parts of Wales, with a particular stronghold on the Preseli mountains in Pembrokeshire, but it is absent from the northeast part of the country. In England, it has strong populations on heathland sites from Cornwall to Surrey and in Norfolk, but is very uncommon elsewhere, with the exception of the Lake District. In Scotland its distribution is centred on the west coast and inner Hebrides. Elsewhere in Europe, it is found from Ireland and Portugal east to the Baltic and Black Seas and from the Mediterranean north to southern Scandinavia and southern Finland. There are populations in north Africa and it occurs in Asia from Turkey east to northern India.