Are Large Red Damselflies rare?

If you saw the Sunday Telegraph article on ponds this weekend you might be wondering whether Large Red Damseflies are rare, or at least creatures that are pretty uncommon (like the other animals shown: Water Voles, Natterjack Toads and Great Crested Newts).

Well, the answer is: of course not. Large Reds are found in about 1 in 5 of all ponds in the countryside, and in lots of garden ponds too – in fact in Abingdon we had them in half the ponds.

But there is a more interesting story here too. In high quality unpolluted ponds we find Large Red Damseflies in two-thirds of all ponds – so they should be almost everywhere. The fact that they aren’t is probably something to do with the terrible state of most ponds.

And in case you’re wondering, like the people who came up to me at the Game Fair at the weekend brandishing copies of the Sunday Telegraph and rather irately saying ‘I thought this was your project!, the article is indeed referring to the Million Ponds Project. Though you might not realise this from the press release issued by the Environment Agency!

So just to remind them: here’s a gardener and some other bloke in a suit launching the project!

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