White-faced darter dragonfly reintroduced in Cheshire

A project to reintroduce a rare dragonfly to Cheshire has begun successfully according to the county’s Wildlife trust.

at Whixall Moss NNR

A project to reintroduce a rare dragonfly to Cheshire has begun successfully according to the county’s Wildlife trust.

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It is only the second time a reintroduction of the white-faced darter has been attempted in the UK. The previous trial took place in Cumbria in 2010.

Cheshire Wildlife Trust put 100 larvae into pools in Delamere Forest in the hope they will grow and develop into adult insects.

The white-faced darter dragonfly was last recorded in the county in 2003.

The dragonfly, which Cheshire Wildlife Trust said was “one of the UK’s rarest”, is only found in Staffordshire, Shropshire, Cumbria and Scotland.

The Cheshire project saw larvae from healthy populations in Shropshire and Staffordshire relocated to Delamere Forest.

Dr Vicky Nall, who led the project and Water Vole Project Officer at CWT, said she has felt “tense” as the team await the “first tentative emergence of the darters and begin the painstaking process of counting the dried larval cases they leave behind”.

This spring is set to be the third warmest on record, and Dr Hall is sure that has helped.

“We’ve been blessed with a relatively consistent warm and sunny spring so far, the signs are good for a successful number of adults making their way into the air this year”, she said.

The scheme has been run in conjunction with the Forestry Commission who have removed trees that cast shadows across the pool, providing the insects with the light conditions they need.

It is hoped that habitats in the forest may be adapted to allow the dragonflies to expand into additional areas, according to a Cheshire Wildlife Trust spokesperson.

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Photograph © Flickr user Jerry Hoare and published under this license.