Dragonfly species in Monmouthshire: Small Red-eyed Damselfly

Distribution map of Small Red-eyed Damselfly in Monmouthshire, April 2023
Distribution map of Small Red-eyed Damselfly in Monmouthshire, April 2023, produced using the DMAP for Windows software written by Alan Morton, www.dmap.co.uk

Small Red-eyed Damselfly (Erythromma viridulum) is a recent colonist to the county following its spread westwards across England in recent decades, and it is probably now more common than our other Erythromma species, Red-eyed Damselfly (E. najas).

Current distribution in the county: what we know

Tara Okon found the county’s first Small Red-eyed Damselflies, at Uskmouth nature reserve, in 2017. Tara’s account of her find can be read here.

The following are all of the sites at which Small Red-eyed Damselfly has been recorded in the county, with dates of the first record and where different, the most recent record, in brackets:

Uskmouth nature reserve (2017, 2022)
Ynys y Fro reservoirs (2017, 2022)
Lliswerry Pond (2017, 2022)
Western Lakes, Glan Llyn (2017, 2022)
A pond to the west of Mathern fishing ponds (2017)
Fourteen Locks canal basin (2018)
Dingestow Court Lake (2018, 2022)
Magor Marsh (2019, 2020)
Tredegar House Lake (2019)
A reen south of Duffryn (2019)
Chepstow Garden Centre pond (2019, 2022)
Spytty Pond (2022)
Cwm Hedd (2022)
Cwmbran boating lake (2022)
A pond near Llanbadoc (2022)
Victoria Basin, Monmouthshire and Brecon canal, south of Cwmbran (2022)
A pond near the Monnow Bridge, Monmouth (2022)

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

Good coverage was achieved in 2022 of existing sites, and several additional sites found. Those sites where Small Red-eyed Damselfly was recorded in previous years but not since should be revisited to establish if the species is still present.

There are almost certainly many more sites awaiting discovery. This species can colonise even quite modest-sized ponds, and there are many such ponds across the county which have not been visited to record dragonflies. With Llanbadoc, Dingestow and Monmouth now hosting populations there is no reason why this damselfly should not be present in suitable habitat anywhere in Monmouthshire.

Distribution elsewhere

In South Wales, Small Red-eyed Damselfly is now well-established in southern parts of all four coastal counties, west to Pembrokeshire, but it has yet to make it much further north than this, although it is present in England close to the Welsh border as far north as Cheshire, so colonisation of further areas can be expected. In England it has reached Cornwall in the southwest, and Preston and Newcastle-upon-Tyne in the north. Elsewhere in Europe, it is found from Iberia and Portugal east to southwest Russia, north to southern Scandinavia, and south to Italy and Greece; it is also found in parts of North Africa and Turkey.