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Dragonflies and Damselflies

Dragonflies and damselflies love it at Portbury Wharf Nature Reserve. So this is an important site for these captivating insects. Visit the reserve between mid to late spring and late autumn and you are likely to see some.


You may see damselflies slowly drifting amongst the vegetation, some like tiny glowing strip lights. You may see blue, red, orange, yellow and brown dragonflies dart across your path. They hover in mid-air momentarily, before streaking off at great speed.Michael Brighton

In 2018 a comprehensive survey confirmed that at least 16 species of dragonflies and damselflies live at Portbury Wharf. The surveys will continue so as to gain an insight into their breeding success at Portbury Wharf.  Please click Dragonfly Surveys to read more about this.


The sixteen species at PWNR

The list of species identified at PWNR includes 6 damselflies and 10 dragonflies:

The Damselflies:

  • Large Red
  • Common Blue
  • Azure
  • Blue-tailed
  • Emerald
  • Small Red-eyed

The Dragonflies:

  • Common Darter
  • Ruddy Darter
  • Broad-bodied Chaser
  • Four-spotted Chaser
  • Scarce Chaser
  • Black-tailed Skimmer
  • Migrant Hawker
  • Southern Hawker
  • Hairy
  • Emperor

There could well be more that the survey missed, or future new additions! We know that Banded Demoiselles frequent a nearby rhyne and Brown Hawkers have previously been seen on the reserve.

We will be adding lots more information about each species soon.



Dragonflies evolved over 300 million years ago. That is 100 million years before dinosaurs roamed the earth. They were giants then with a wing span of up to two feet (60 cm)!