News Release

Dragonflies go thirsty in the Mediterranean

02 October 2009
The Banded Darter (Sympetrum pedemontanum) Photo © Fabio Pupin

One fifth of Mediterranean dragonflies and damselflies are threatened with extinction at the regional level as a result of increasing freshwater scarcity, according to the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™.

Climate change and habitat degradation, due to the way land is managed, are also affecting the insects, says the report.

The assessment of 163 Mediterranean dragonflies and damselflies shows five are Critically Endangered, 13 are Endangered, another 13 are Vulnerable, 27 are Near Threatened, 96 are Least Concern and six are Data Deficient, meaning there is not enough information to classify them, but they might also be threatened.

“It is likely things will only get worse for these unique species as climate change and increased water demand take their toll,” says Jean Pierre Boudot, member of the IUCN Dragonfly Specialist Group and co-author of the report. “Lower levels of precipitation and drought will lead to degradation of the habitats where the majority of dragonflies and damselflies live.”

Four species are already listed as Extinct in the Mediterranean, including the Little Whisp (Agriocnemis exilis), the Common Pond Damsel (Ceriagrion glabrum), the Phantom Flutterer (Rhyothemis semihyalina) and the Darting Cruiser (Phyllomacromia africana).

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