Star Species From 2024

The Willow Emerald Damselfly Chalcolestes viridis is only the second damselfly in recent history to colonise the UK from the continent.

Since dragonfly recording began in the late nineteenth century many dragonflies have arrived from the continent and formed breeding colonies in the UK, but only two damselflies have done this.

The Small Red-eyed Damselfly Erythromma viridulum first appeared in the UK in 1999 and made it to Worcestershire in 2006. The latest species, the Willow Emerald, arrived in the UK in 2009 and first appeared in Worcestershire in 2022. After the first sighting in Acocks Green, near Birmingham (1), records soon began popping up in east Worcestershire at Spetchley Park, Grafton Wood and Roundhill Wood (2).

Willow Emerald scars

Willow Emerald scars- Fox Hollies Pool 17-9-22 Des Jennings

Willow Emerald male

Willow Emerald male - Kyre Park, Sept 2023 Mike Averill

2023 brought up more sites at Throckmorton. But one record in the west at Kyre Park, Tenbury was a big jump and at the time was the second most westerly record in the UK.

Although outwardly very similar to the Emerald Damselfly Lestes sponsa which we have already in the county, the male Willow Emerald has these key features:

  • Large, pale pterostigma (wing spots).
  • Prominent green spur on the side of the thorax.
  • No blue pruinescence as in Lestes sponsa male.
  • Pale white appendages fringed in black.
  • Interesting habit of egg laying in to the bark of young woody branches over water, which includes various species including willow. These scars are accepted on their own as a breeding record.

1 Jennings, D. 2022. Willow Emerald Chalcolestes viridis. the first Sighting in VC 37, Worcestershire Record No 50, p 50-52

2 Averill, M. T. Worcestershire Dragonfly Roundup 2022. Worcestershire Record No 50, P 41-43