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List of the Dragonflies and Damselflies (Odonata) of Spain and Portugal, including the Canary Islands, Madeira and the Azores
by John Muddeman, Mike Lockwood and Teresa Farino
Updated November 2012

Spain - Dragonflies & Damselflies - Red-veined Darter female © John Muddeman Red-veined Darter female
Sympetrum fonscolombii
© John Muddeman

The previous version of the list has been updated using the latest information published in Libellula Supplement 9 (Boudot et al. 2009), which covers the entire Mediterranean region (but excludes the Azores) and comments regarding the genus Ischnura in the Canary islands (Sánchez-Guillén, R. A. & Cordero-Rivera, A. pers comm). The base list was compiled principally using data from the CSIC (Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas) and also that in Scriptus Naturae by F. Ocharan Larrondo concerning species present in peninsular Spain, and that for the Canary Islands in Ashmole & Ashmole (1989). Some additional information comes from Baixeras (2006). The list for Portugal and Macaronesia comes primarily from a recent paper in the Journal of Odonatology (Ferreira et al. 2006; with thanks to Florian Weihrauch), which has also influenced the status of some species reported for Spain.

Taxonomy and nomenclature

Nomenclature and systematic treatment follows that of the most comprehensive, readily available and up to date treatment of the group in English (Dijkstra & Lewington 2006), though we have placed Ceriagrion before Coenagrion in the systematic list. This updates the earlier treatment given by Askew (2004), itself updated with more recent changes in systematic treatment regarding a few species noted by Mill et al. (2004) B and Ocharan Larrondo. Given these mainly minor discrepancies between lists (e.g. C. xanthostoma, A. isoceles, C. boltonii), alternative scientific names are noted (and sourced) where significantly different.

Spain - Dragonflies & Damselflies - Black Percher © John Muddeman Black Percher
Diplacodes lefebvrei
© John Muddeman

English vernacular names are those in Dijkstra & Lewington (2006) which are not only markedly different from those in Mill et al. (2004), but also provide vernacular names for the first time of many species in the region. Given the large number of differences due to the attempt at standardising the newly proposed names, we also provide the 'old' names (where available) of Mill et al. (2004) in the numbered footnotes, plus using those in d'Aguilar et al. (1986) A for those species where no name was provided. There appears to be no list of vernacular names in Spanish or Portuguese available at present.

Distribution

Spain - Dragonflies & Damselflies - Violet Dropwing © John Muddeman Violet Dropwing
Trithemis annulata
© John Muddeman

In total 79 species (28 damselflies; 50 dragonflies; 34 genera; including 1 extinct species and genus) of Odonata have been recorded in mainland Spain (including the Balearic Islands), with 63 species cited from mainland Portugal (23 damselflies; 40 dragonflies; 29 genera). In the Canary Islands just 14 species (3 damselflies; 11 dragonflies; 8 genera; 1 damselfly and 2 dragonflies are apparently vagrants) have been recorded, of which the two resident damselfly and two resident dragonfly species do not occur in the rest of Spain. Of special note is Sympetrum (striolatum) nigrifemur, a Macaronesian endemic shared with Madeira. On Madeira 7 species (2 damselflies; 5 dragonflies; 3 genera) have been recorded. On the Azores 6 species are known (1 damselfly; 5 dragonflies; 3 genera), including a damselfly of Nearctic origin found nowhere else in the Western Palearctic. This gives a total of 84 confirmed species in 33 genera in Spain (including 1 extinct species and genus), 65 species in 30 genera in Portugal and 85 species in 34 genera overall (including 1 extinct species and genus)

Given that it is extremely difficult to get accurate, up-to-date information on the distribution of the majority of the species in Spain, readers are referred to both the atlas mapping of Boudot (2009) and the range maps in Dijkstra & Lewington (2006) for maps of approximate distribution. However, it should be taken into account Spain - Dragonflies & Damselflies - Sahara Bluetail © John Muddeman Sahara Bluetail
Ischnura saharensis
© John Muddeman
that a number of species with a formerly very southerly distribution are expanding their ranges northwards. This is the case, for example, of Brachythemis leucosticta which has recently been recorded from central Valencia and the lakes of La Mancha, Trithemis annulata, cited from the Asturian coast, and both Platycnemis subdilatata and Trithemis kirbyi recorded in coastal S Andalucía. In contrast, Coenagrion puella is expanding southwards in north-eastern Spain. Within the table, links are provided to maps and other information of this nature for a few of the species.

Please feel free to contact us to comment on the list, as our aim is to provide more detailed information in the future.

If you'd like to observe and photograph dragonflies in Madrid or Extremadura, join John on a Dragonflies, Birds & Butterflies tour to Extremadura or contact John about options for a Tailor-made Trip

List

Reference numbers within the table refer to the footnotes.
In the Distribution column, MS = mainland Spain, BI = Balearic Islands, CI = Canary Islands,
MP = mainland Portugal, Ma = Madeira, A = Azores

Common Name: English Scientific Name Distribution
 
DAMSELFLIES SUBORDER ZYGOPTERA  
  Fam. Calopterygidae  
Copper Demoiselle 1, A Calopteryx haemorrhoidalis 2 MS; BI; MP
Beautiful Demoiselle Calopteryx virgo meridionalis MS; MP
Western Demoiselle 3, Calopteryx xanthostoma 4, B MS; MP
 
  Fam. Lestidae  
Migrant Spreadwing 5 Lestes barbarus MS; MP
Robust Spreadwing 6 Lestes dryas MS; MP
Dark Spreadwing 7, A Lestes macrostigma MS; MP
Common Spreadwing 8 Lestes sponsa sponsa MS
Small Spreadwing 9 Lestes virens virens MS; MP
Western Willow Spreadwing 10 Lestes viridis 11, B MS; BI; MP
Winter Damsel 12 Sympecma fusca MS; BI; MP
 
  Fam. Coenagrionidae  
Small Red Damsel 13 Ceriagrion tenellum MS; BI; MP
Mediterranean Bluet Coenagrion caerulescens MS; MP
Spearhead Bluet 14 Coenagrion hastulatum MS
Mercury Bluet 15 Coenagrion mercuriale MS, MS2; MP
Azure Bluet 16 Coenagrion puella MS; MP
Variable Bluet 17 Coenagrion pulchellum mediterraneum MS 58; MP
Dainty Bluet 18 Coenagrion scitulum MS; MP
Common Bluet 19 Enallagma cyathigerum MS; MP
Blue-eye 20 Erythromma lindenii20 MS; MP
Small Red-eye 21 Erythromma viridulum MS; BI; MP
Common Bluetail 22 Ischnura elegans MS; BI
Iberian Bluetail Ischnura graellsii MS; MP
Citrine Forktail Ischnura hastata A
Small Bluetail 23 Ischnura pumilio MS; MP; Ma; A
Sahara Bluetail Ischnura saharensis CI; ?Ma
Ubiquitous Bluetail 62 Ischnura senegalensis CI 62
Large Red Damsel 24 Pyrrhosoma nymphula MS; MP
 
  Fam. Platycnemididae  
Orange Featherleg 25 Platycnemis acutipennis MS; MP
White Featherleg Platycnemis latipes MS; MP
Blue Featherleg 26 Platycnemis pennipes pennipes MS 59
Barbary Featherleg Platycnemis subdilatata CI
 
DRAGONFLIES SUBORDER ANISOPTERA  
  Fam. Aeshnidae  
Blue-eyed Hawker 27 Aeshna affinis MS; MP
Blue Hawker 28 Aeshna cyanea MS; MP
Green-eyed Hawker 29 Aeshna isoceles29 MS; BI; MP
Moorland Hawker 30 Aeshna juncea MS; MP
Migrant Hawker Aeshna mixta MS; BI; MP
Vagrant Emperor Anax ephippiger31 MS; BI; CI; MP; Ma
Blue Emperor 32 Anax imperator MS; BI; CI; MP; Ma; A
Lesser Emperor Anax parthenope MS; BI; CI; MP; Ma
Western Spectre 33 Boyeria irene MS; MP
Hairy Hawker 34 Brachytron pratense34 MS; MP
 
  Fam. Gomphidae  
Pronged Clubtail Gomphus graslinii35 MS, MS2; MP
Western Clubtail 36 Gomphus pulchellus MS; MP
Yellow Clubtail 37 Gomphus simillimus MS; MP
Common Clubtail 38 Gomphus vulgatissimus MS
Bladetail 39 Lindenia tetraphylla MS, MS2
Faded Pincertail Onychogomphus costae MS; MP
Small Pincertail 40 Onychogomphus forcipatus unguiculatus MS; MP
Large Pincertail 41 Onychogomphus uncatus MS; MP
Green Hooktail Paragomphus genei 42 MS; MP
 
  Fam. Cordulegasteridae  
Sombre Goldenring 43 Cordulegaster bidentata MS
Common Goldenring 44 Cordulegaster boltonii 44 MS; MP
 
  Fam. Corduliidae  
Splendid Cruiser 45 Macromia splendens MS, MS2, MS3; MP
Downy Emerald Cordulia aenea MS 61
Orange-spotted Emerald Oxygastra curtisii MS, MS2; MP
Brilliant Emerald D Somatochlora metallica MS
 
  Fam. Libellulidae  
Northern Banded Groundling Brachythemis impartita MS; MP
Broad Scarlet 46 Crocothemis erythraea MS; BI; CI; MP
Black Percher Diplacodes lefebvrii 47 MS; MP
Small Whiteface 48 Leucorrhinia dubia MS
Yellow-spotted Whiteface 49 Leucorrhinia pectoralis MS
Broad-bodied Chaser Libellula depressa MS; BI; MP
Blue Chaser 50 Libellula fulva MS; MP
Four-spotted Chaser Libellula quadrimaculata MS; MP
Southern Skimmer Orthetrum brunneum MS; MP
Black-tailed Skimmer Orthetrum cancellatum MS; BI; MP
Epaulet Skimmer 51 Orthetrum chrysostigma MS; CI; MP
White-tailed Skimmer 63 Orthetrum albistylum MS
Keeled Skimmer Orthetrum coerulescens MS; BI; MP
Yellow-veined Skimmer Orthetrum nitidinerve MS; MP
Long Skimmer Orthetrum trinacria MS; CI; MP
Black Pennant Selysiothemis nigra 52 MS; BI; MP
Yellow-winged Darter Sympetrum flaveolum MS; MP
Red-veined Darter Sympetrum fonscolombii MS; BI; CI; MP; Ma; A
Southern Darter Sympetrum meridionale MS; MP
Banded Darter Sympetrum pedemontanum MS
Ruddy Darter Sympetrum sanguineum MS; MP
Desert Darter Sympetrum sinaiticum tarraconensis 53 MS
Common Darter Sympetrum striolatum MS; BI; MP
Island Darter Sympetrum (striolatum) nigrifemur 54 CI; Ma
Moustached Darter 55 Sympetrum vulgatum ibericum MS
Violet Dropwing 56 Trithemis annulata MS; CI; MP
Red-veined Dropwing Trithemis arteriosa CI
Orange-winged Dropwing Trithemis kirbyi MS
Ringed Cascader Zygonyx torridus 57 MS; CI; MP

Note: Green Snaketail (Ophiogomphus cecilia) is not included in the list since there are apparently no confirmed records in Spain of the species and the records from Portugal have been revised and the species is no longer considered to have been present (Ferreira et al. 2006). Spotted Darter (Sympetrum depressiusculum) is also not included following Ferreira et al. (2006).

Footnotes

1 Mediterranean Demoiselle A
2 Two ssp. present: C. h. haemorrhoidalis in most of Spain and C. h. asturica along the north Atlantic coast.
3 Yellow-tailed Demoiselle B
4 Previously considered a subspecies of Banded Demoiselle B Calopteryx splendens xanthostoma; the only form present in Spain.
5 Southern Emerald Damselfly
6 Scarce Emerald Damselfly
7 Dark Emerald Damselfly A
8 Emerald Damselfly
9 Small Emerald Damselfly
10 Willow Emerald Damselfly
11 Sometimes also treated as Chalcolestes viridis
12 Common Winter Damselfly A, / Winter Damselfly B
13 Small Red Damselfly
14 Northern Damselfly
15 Southern Damselfly
16 Azure Damselfly
17 Variable Damselfly
18 Dainty Damselfly
19 Common Blue Damselfly
20 Goblet-marked Damselfly; formerly known as Coenagrion lindeni and latterly Cercion lindenii B
21 Small Red-eyed Damselfly
22 Blue-tailed Damselfly
23 Scarce Blue-tailed Damselfly; although not included for the Canary Islands, a photograph: http://www.miradanatural.es/fotousuario.php?id=12425&galeria=7 pending confirmation, may pertain to this species (Sánchez-Guillén, R.A. & Cordero-Rivera, A. pers comm)
24 Large Red Damselfly
25 Orange White-legged Damselfly
26 White-legged Damselfly
27 Southern Migrant Hawker or Mediterranean Hawker A
28 Southern Hawker
29 Norfolk Hawker; Also known as Anaciaeschna / Aeshna isoceles; true taxonomic position still uncertain.
30 Common Hawker
31 Often treated as Hemianax ephippiger
32 Emperor Dragonfly
33 Also known as Dusk Hawker or Crepuscular Hawker A
34 Also known as Hairy Dragonfly; Often treated as Brachytron hafniense
35 Often listed as Gomphus graslini
36 Also known as Western Club-tail or Western Club-tailed Dragonfly A
37 Also known as Yellow Club-tail or Yellow Club-tailed Dragonfly A
38 Also known as Common Club-tail or Club-tailed Dragonfly A
39 Probably extinct but perhaps still present or occurring very rarely as a migrant (Baixeras 2006)
40 Also known as Green-eyed Hook-tail or Green-eyed Hook-tailed Dragonfly A
41 Also known as Blue-eyed Hook-tail or Blue-eyed Hook-tailed Dragonfly A
42 Also known as Mesogomphus genei
43 Also known as Two-toothed Golden-ringed Dragonfly or Two-toothed Golden-ring
44 Golden-ringed Dragonfly; although generally called Cordulegaster boltonii, the species forms a very closely related complex of forms, with up to 4 sspp. cited for Spain: boltonii in the N, immaculifrons in the C, iberica in the S and algirica in the far S. In simple terms Ferreira et al. (2006) consider there to a cline in colouration from N to S and that subspecific identity is therefore invalid. To add further confusion, the alternative Cordulegaster annulatus ssp. immaculifrons is sometimes used!
45 Splendid Emerald A
46 Scarlet Darter
47 Also known as D. lefebvrei
48 White-faced Darter
49 Large White-faced Darter
50 Scarce Chaser
51 "Waisted Skimmer" has been referred to on the Atropos website, but is not officially accepted nomenclature, as far as we know.
52 Sometimes separated in its own family: Macrodiplactidae.
53 Formerly considered part of the S. decoloratum species complex.
54 Tentatively maintained as a subspecies of Common Darter but often treated as a separate and endemic) species S. nigrifemur.
55 Vagrant Darter
56 Violet-marked Darter
57 Also known as Z. torrida A
58 This species and taxon is now possibly extinct in mainland Spain (there appears to be just half of one specimen in the Barcelona Zoological Museum).
59 All but one modern record are from the Val d'Aran.
60 Presumed vagrant; this also appears to have occurred in mainland Spain in October 2008: see http://www.insectariumvirtual.com/galeria/A-identificar-img51819.html and is included here pending publication (A. Martens, B. Kunz & F. Weihrauch via FW pers comm.). However, this has apparently not been accepted by the Spanish Rarities Committee.
61 Val d'Aran only.
62 Formerly recorded for the Canary Islands, a review by Hämäläinen (1986) showed the specimens available were I. saharensis, which has remained listed as the only Ischnura present on the islands since. However, preliminary results from DNA analyses of specimens has confirmed the presence of I. senegalensis on Tenerife; photos also confirm that I. saharensis is also present on at least some of the islands (Sánchez-Guillen, R.-A. & Cordero, A. pers comm.) and is probably the most widespread taxon there; also known as Senegal Bluetail, Common Bluetail, Marsh Bluetail and Senegal Golden Dartlet.
63 Primera cita de Orthetrum albistylum (Sélys, 1848) (Odonata: Libellulidae) para la Península Ibérica First record of Orthetrum albistylum (Sélys, 1848) (Odonata: Libellulidae) from Iberian Peninsula IÑAKI MEZQUITA ARANBURU, FRANCISCO J. OCHARAN Y ANTONIO TORRALBA BURRIAL Boln. Asoc. esp. Ent. 35 (3-4): 519-523, 2011.)

Bibliography

Ashmole, M. & Ashmole, P. (1989). Natural History Excursions in Tenerife. Kiston Mill Press, Peebles, Scotland.

Askew, R. (2004). The Dragonflies of Europe. 2nd Ed. Harley Books, Colchester.

d'Aguilar, J., Dommanget, J.-L. & Préchac, R. (1986). A Field Guide to the Dragonflies of Europe and North Africa. English Edition, Collins.

Baixeras, J. (Ed.) (2006). Les libèl·lules de la Comunitat Valenciana. Conselleria de Territori y Habitatge, Generalitat Valenciana.

Boudot, J.-P., Kalkman, V. J., Azpilicueta Amorín, M., Bogdanovic, T., Cordero Rivera, A., Degabriele, G., Dommanget, J.-L., Ferreira, S., Garrigós, B., Jovic, M., Kotarac, M., Lopau, W., Marinov, M., Mihokovic, N., Riservato, E., Samrauoi, B. & Schneider, W. (2009). Atlas of the Odonata of the Mediterranean and North Africa. Libellula Supplement 9.

D Dantart, J. & Martín, R. (1999). Somatochlora metallica (Van der Linden, 1825) (Odonata: Corduliidae) y Leucorrhinia pectoralis (Charpentier, 1825) (Odonata: Libellulidae), dos nuevas especies para la Península Ibérica. Boletín Asociación española de Entomología, 23 (1-2): 147.

Dijkstra, K-D. B. & Lewington, R. (2006). Field Guide to the Dragonflies of Britain and Europe. British Wildlife Publishing, Milton on Stour, Dorset, UK.

Hämäläinen, M. (1986). Note on the misidentification of the first Zygoptera material from the Canary Islands. Notulae Odonatologicae 2: 131-132.

Mill, P., Taylor, P. & Parr, A. (2004). Vernacular Names for British and European Dragonflies. Atropos 23: 33-35.


Photos and further ID information can also be found on a number of excellent websites:
Odonates du Paléarctique Ouest (in French; W Palearctic)
Odonata (in Spanish; mainland Spain)
Oxygastra (in English / Catalan; Catalonia)

In addition, information (in Spanish) for taxa considered threatened within Spain can be found on the Ministerio de Medio Ambiente website. A document (in Catalan) covering the invertebrates (including 15 Odonata) to be protected in Catalonia may also be seen here (6,57 MB .pdf file).

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