The Odonata Red Data List for Great Britain
Daguet, C., French, G., Taylor, P., (eds)
Species Status Assessment No 11
The SSA project was established by JNCC in 1999. The project is the means by which the statutory conservation agencies, in partnership with voluntary conservation organisations and leading specialists, assign conservation status to British species and regularly revise previous Red Data Books and National Reviews. By assessing all taxa to the same standards, comparisons between taxa and between geographic areas are made easier. Such an undertaking is not without difficulty: species that have different life spans, different ecological niches, different reproductive strategies etc, do not always lend themselves to easy comparisons.



This report has been produced as part of the JNCC Species Status Assessment project, assigning conservation status to British flora and fauna using White-faced darter (Leucorrhinia dubia) © Helen Baker-approved IUCN Red Data Book criteria and categories (JNCC, 2006). Within this project, the remit of the present report is to assess the status of Odonata throughout Great Britain, using the updated IUCN Red Data Book criteria and categories. The previous assessment of the conservation status of British Odonata using IUCN criteria and categories is in Shirt, 1987. This lists four species as Endangered, two as Vulnerable and three as Rare. Three of the Endangered species were regarded as extinct in Britain.


Over the last 20 years since the publication of the 1987 British Red Data list of Odonata (Shirt, 1987),improved recording, changes in the distribution of British Odonata and modifications to IUCN criteria and categories have meant that a review of the status of dragonflies and damselflies in Britain is now

warranted. Specifically:


1. The recording of British Odonata has increased within the last 20 years (Figure 1). Targeted recording effort towards the publication of the Atlas of the dragonflies of Britain and Ireland (Merritt, et al., 1996) led to improved understanding of the distribution of British Odonata species. The production of local atlases similarly led to a clearer perception of species status at the regional or county level.


2. The British Dragonfly Society (BDS), through its Odonata Recording Scheme and more recently Dragonfly Recording Network (DRN), has led various recording initiatives to further knowledge in the breeding status of rare British Odonata. Such initiatives included the Odonata Key Sites Project, launched in 1988 and the Rare Dragonfly project, which ran over five years between 1994 -1999.


3. The full-time employment of a Key Sites Project Officer (initially funded by Defra and the NBN Trust in 2005-06) enabled the collation into one database of all Odonata datasets held within the DRN and elsewhere, including local record centres. This collated dataset, currently holding 471,000 records in Recorder 2002, is now available through the NBN gateway


4. The distribution of a number of Odonata species has changed significantly over the past 20 years. A number of species have increased their range northwards, additional species have been found to regularly breed within Britain and others have lost populations at the edge of their range.


5. The IUCN Red List categories and criteria have undergone extensive review over the last 20 years. The current Version 3.1 was adopted by the IUCN Council in February 2000 (IUCN, 2001). This revised document has been accompanied by continually improved guidelines on the application of the IUCN criteria (IUCN, 2003; IUCN, 2005: IUCN Standards and Petitions Working Group 2006).


This report assesses the current status of British Odonata, using Version 3.1 of the IUCN Red List categories and criteria (IUCN, 2001). The current status of each species has been determined through the analysis of records held within the Dragonfly Recording Network (DRN), along with expert opinions from members of the British Dragonfly Society’s Dragonfly Conservation Group (DCG). In qualifying the Odonata status determined by information held within the DRN database, it is hoped that a more appropriate assessment of each Odonata species may be made and current gaps in Odonata recording highlighted.

You will need the free Adobe Acrobat Reader to view this document.
ISSN 1473 0154
Please cite as: Daguet, C., French, G., Taylor, P., (eds), (2008), The Odonata Red Data List for Great Britain, Species Status Assessment No 11, ISSN 1473 0154