The white-legged damselfly investigation project

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 is limited by a lack of long term data.  As a result, the British Dragonfly Society (BDS) 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

The BDS has been working with its County Dragonfly Recorders to identify key areas where White-legged Damselflies are under-recorder or potentially declining, or both. It wants 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.

Find out more about volunteering

Where are the surveys taking place?

Surveys can take part anywhere within the species’ range. However, the BDS is particularly 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


View the distribution of Platycnemis pennipes as shown on the NBN Atlas


Find out more about the white-legged damselfly including identification help.

Report a sighting on iRecord

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