The White-legged Damselfly (Platycnemis pennipes) is a delicate little insect that can be found fluttering along lushly vegetated margins of rivers, streams, pools and lakes in southern England and Wales. In recent years there have been increasing concerns that this elegant species is disappearing from some parts of the UK. However, our understanding of White-legged Damselfly population trends it limited by a lack of long term data; thus, the British Dragonfly Society has launched the White-legged Damselfly Investigation.


Project Aims

  • Train volunteer recorders to identify and monitor White-legged Damselfly.
  • Encourage the recording of White-legged Damselflies in under-recorded areas.
  • Establish the distribution and population trends of White-legged Damselfly through long term monitoring.
  • Use collated datasets to assess the need for conservation action, regarding White-legged Damselfly and their habitat


Project so far

We have been working with our County Dragonfly Recorders to identify key areas where White-legged Damselflies are under-recorder or potentially declining, or both. We want volunteers to visit these areas of the summer of 2019 to establish if White-legged Damselflies are still present in historic sites and to check for their presence in under recorded areas.


Learn about the White-legged Damselfly (click here)


Seen a White-legged Damselfly?

Report it here!


Who can volunteer?  

Anyone! The survey is really easy and is great activity for beginners wanting to learn more about dragonflies as you only need to identify one species- although hopefully you’ll so lots of other exciting wildlife along the way!


What does it involve?

We want volunteers to revisit areas with historic records for White-legged Damselflies to see if they are still present there. We also would like volunteers to visit under-recorded areas. Surveys need to take place between May and August. Ideally volunteers will visit their chosen sites on 3 sunny days within this period. Sites are assigned as 1km OS grid squares. You will be asked to try and survey all the wetland areas within your square.


Where are we surveying? 

Surveys can take part anywhere within the species’ range (see distribution map). However, we are particualrly interested in surveying within counties where existing data suggests the species might be declining, or where the species is under recorded.

Click on the priority county to view priority sites for surveying:

Bedfordshire                           Hertfordshire

Cambridgeshire                       Huntingdonshire

Cheshire                                 Kent

Devon                                    Oxfordshire 

Essex                                     Suffolk



How to take part

Email our Conservation Officer to be assigned a site and signed up to the mailing list.

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