Dragonfly species in Monmouthshire: Scarce Blue-tailed Damselfly

Distribution map of Scarce Blue-tailed Damselfly in Monmouthshire, March 2024
Distribution map of Scarce Blue-tailed Damselfly in Monmouthshire, March 2024, produced using the DMAP for Windows software written by Alan Morton, www.dmap.co.uk

Scarce Blue-tailed Damselfly (Ischnura pumilio) is a localised dragonfly species in the county, found almost exclusively in the uplands of the north west.

The oldest record in our data set is from Cwm-Tysswg, south of Tredegar, on 29 July 1983 (observer A. D. Fox).

Current distribution in the county: what we know

Post-2019 records come mainly from the moorlands around Blaenavon, but there are records from two other areas in the northwest uplands: the east side of the Blorenge, and the area west of Pontypool.

Away from the uplands, the species was found on ponds at Llanwern steelworks in 2021 by Paul Roberts, and on a pond at Pontllanfraith crematorium in 2022 by Richard Clarke.

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

There are older records from other areas of the uplands, and it is possible that Scarce Blue-tailed Damselfly is still present in those areas too. The lack of post-2019 records away from the areas listed above may in some cases be because no-one has visited these sites to record dragonflies recently; however this is a species which is particularly associated with ephemeral shallow pools and the conditions at some of these other sites may no longer support them, if pools have dried out, for example, or if vegetation succession has occurred.

Distribution elsewhere

Scarce Blue-tailed Damselfly is quite widespread in south, central and northwest Wales. Its strongest populations in England are in the southwest, though it reaches parts of the southeast, East Anglia and the Midlands. It is absent from northern England and Scotland. Elsewhere in Europe, it is found from Ireland and Portugal east to Russia, north to southern Scandinavia and southern Finland, and south to Italy and the Balkans. It is also found in parts of North Africa and Turkey, its range extends east through Asia as far as Mongolia, and it has also colonised Madeira and the Azores.