Trip to Turkey
with 2 new European species and more.

At the end of June and the start of July of this year I made a road trip along the Turkish south coast, from Adana to Dalaman. Turkey is very interesting for dragonfly watchers as it has a spectacular and unique mix of European, African and Asian species on the menu.

In Turkey I’ve been able to photograph two additional species that appear on the European list but only just:

  • Ceriagrion georgifreyi, commonly called Turkish Red Damsel. This species can be found in coastal marshes in some parts of Greece but is extremely rare in Europe. In Turkey it’s a bit easier to find but still limited to small and threatened areas.
  • Trithemis arteriosa or Red-veined Dropwing doesn’t occur on the European mainland. If you want to see this predominantly African species in Europe, the islands of Rhodes and Cyprus are your best bet. In Turkey it can be found on clear brooks and rivers.

Furthermore, some Asian species that don’t occur in Europe were photographed:

Finally, lots of additional shots were added of species such as Chalcolestes parvidens (Eastern Willow Spreadwing), Selysiothemis nigra (Black Pennant), Orthetrum sabina (Slender Skimmer), Orthetrum taeniolatum (Small Skimmer), Onychogomphus forcipatus (Small Pincertail, adding the eastern mediterranean subspecies albotibialis) and many more. Enjoy!

A small update in June 2023
Additional pictures added to several species pages

Spring of 2023 was cold and wet in the Netherlands so dragonfly season started late. With warm and sunny weather finally arriving, species started popping out of the water left and right. A few trips in the area yielded some nice new additions to the photo galleries of some existing species pages. Among these are:

Two more species of Emeralds added
Somatochlora borisi (Bulgarian Emerald) and S. meridionalis (Balkan Emerald) added new, several other species updated with extra photos.

2022 truly is the year of Corduliidae for this website. After Epitheca bimaculata (Eurasian Baskettail) being added new and Somatochlora metallica (Brilliant Emerald) getting a nice update back in May, now Somatochlora borisi (Bulgarian Emerald) and S. meridionalis (Balkan Emerald) are added as new species to the growing collection. Both were photographed during a trip to beautiful northern Greece in July (both species only in flight and S. borisi only from quite a distance away… I’ll have to go back for more photo shoots some time). The same trip provided opportunities to make more and better photos of many species like Cordulegaster picta (Turkish Goldenring), Onychogomphus forcipatus (Small Pincertail), Lindenia tetraphylla (Bladetail), Orthetrum coerulescens anceps (Keeled Skimmer), Chalcolestes parvidens (Eastern Willow Spreadwing), Lestes macrostigma (Dark Spreadwing) and Epallage fatime (Odalisque).

New! Siberian Bluet (Coenagrion hylas freyi)
An extremely rare and unique European species

In 2015 I made an unsuccessful first attempt to see the extremely rare Siberian Bluets (Coenagrion hylas) in Austria but then I was too late in the season. On a second attempt in June 2022 I ended up in the middle of their flight season: there were dozens of specimens flying, mostly males who were feverishly looking for females and barely perched. Only a few European populations are known to exist, all located in a small area in the northern Austrian Alps. The European populations are considered to be subspecies Coenagrion hylas freyi. Their extensive black markings on abdomen and thorax and their odd diurnal activity pattern make this glacial relict a unique addition to our dragonfly fauna.

New! Eurasian Baskettail (Epitheca bimaculata)
Also, new Brilliant Emerald (Somatochlora metallica) pictures added.

A long-desired trip to Belgium and adjacent northern France was on my agenda for the past two years but it was postponed both times due to Covid restrictions. This year however I made it! Main goal was the Eurasian Baskettail (Epitheca bimaculata), a rare Corduliid that inhabits lakes with lots of submerged vegetation and fish present. About twenty years ago I last visited the species on the same location but the slides I took back then didn’t age well so the species wasn’t present on my website so far. Well, this is finally fixed now!
As a bonus I was able to photograph another Corduliid, Brilliant Emerald (Somatochlora metallica), during emergence. This species isn’t exactly rare in my area but notoriously hard to photograph as an imago so I was hyped finding this species in the process of emerging. 

Two new pages in Dragonflies 101

For most dragonfly lovers in our region, dragonfly season starts around April. That you can see imago’s all year round, even in winter, will be known by now: both Winter Damselflies (Sympecma sp.) do not hibernate as nymphs or eggs, but survive the cold months as imagos. Read all about it in this article: Frozen Damselflies, The exceptional life cycle of Winter Damselflies (Sympecma sp.)

Although true dragonflies (anisoptera) and damselflies (zygoptera) share many characteristics and are often confused, they aren’t exactly the same thing. This article is dedicated to the differences and should be helpful for those who want to know how to tell either imagos or nymphs of the two suborders apart: Dragonfly or damselfly: the differences explained. An illustrated guide to morphological features of both suborders

2021’s big content and usability update
Many new photos and usability improvements

Time for a large update, including lots of new content as well as large improvements in website usability!

Over the past months I’ve added a lot of new pictures to the already large collection. This update was long overdue: the new photos aren’t just from 2021 but 2020 as well. Among the many new additions are:

But that’s not all that’s new. A lot of effort was put into making this website more navigation- and search friendly.

  • Species pages now have secondary titles with Dutch, German and French common names;
  • Search results now show thumbnail pictures;
  • A new search option was added to the main menu.
  • A checklist of all European species was added. This checklist is basically a large searchable table with colums for family, scientific name, European English name (as used in K.D. Dijkstra’s excellent field guide), British and Irish name, Dutch name, German name and French name.

These additions may not look like large improvements but they provide a way better usability, especially for visitors who don’t know all the species by their scientific names.

More usability improvements and some large content updates are in the works. They’re planned for this winter. Enjoy and feel free to contact me if you want to provide feedback on these changes!

Yellow-winged Darter (Sympetrum flaveolum)

Greece – several species added

A trip to Greece in July of this year adds several species to this website. The total number of European species shown is now 112.

Species added in this update:

Pyrrhosoma elisabethae, one of the rarest Odonata species of Europe.

Vagrant Emperors, the story continues

Last June, The Netherlands were flooded with large numbers of Vagrant Emperors (Anax ephippiger), a dragonfly species primarily found in Africa and the Middle East. This influx was unique for more than one reason: the number of Vagrant Emperors was higher than all previous sightings combined, ever, and it was the first time we saw a real influx before summer. Mating and oviposition was witnessed on many Dutch locations. Now, in August, we see the results: for the first time in history, Vagrant Emperors emerge in The Netherlands.

Vagrant Emperor (Anax ephippiger), fresh imago
A fresh imago of Vagrant Emperor (Anax ephippiger), recently emerged in The Netherlands

For more pictures of fresh imagos, exuviae and more, follow this link.

Vagrant Emperors everywhere!

Right now The Netherlands are witnessing their largest known influx ever of Vagrant Emperor (Anax ephippiger). Vagrant Emperors are commonly found in Africa and southwest Asia but they are highly migratory and capable of travelling very large distances. There are several records from Iceland and even the Caribbean!

For the last week more Vagrant Emperors have shown up in The Netherlands every day and on many locations more than one individual was found. They show reproductive behaviour including ovipositing. The picture below was taken near the city of Weert in the south of The Netherlands. For more pictures of this stunning and interesting species, click here!

Vagrant Emperor (Anax ephippiger)
Detail of a male Vagrant Emperor (Anax ephippiger)

All content is copyrighted by Antoine van der Heijden.