Dragonfly species in Monmouthshire: White-legged Damselfly

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

White-legged Damselfly (Platycnemis pennipes) is a localised damselfly in Monmouthshire, confined to slower flowing rivers.

The oldest record in our data set is from the River Wye at Bigsweir, on 24 June 1975 (observer John Paul).

Current distribution in the county: what we know

Post-2019 records come from two main areas: the River Wye around Monmouth, and the River Usk from Abergavenny south to the town of Usk. There is also one record from the lower reaches of the Monnow.

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

White-legged Damselfly probably occurs only on these three rivers; the rivers in the west of the county, and tributaries of the Usk and Wye are too fast-flowing for this species. Further recording on the Usk and the Wye would be useful, to attempt to fill in any gaps in its mapped distribution, and to assess the effect of the ongoing severe agricultural pollution there. There are older records on stretches of the Monnow upstream as far as Grosmont, and recording here will be helpful to determine if it is still present.

Distribution elsewhere

White-legged Damselfly is a scarce and localised species in Wales. It is present on the Wye as far upriver as the Rhayader area, but on the Usk it has not been recorded beyond Abergavenny; further north it occurs on the Severn from Newtown to the English border. It is a much more widespread species in England, being found widely in the southwest, the southeast and the Midlands, but it is absent from northern England and from Scotland. Elsewhere in Europe, it is found from France east to Russia, north to southern Sweden and Finland, and south to Italy and Greece; its range continues east in Asia from Turkey to Siberia.