Your browser version is outdated. We recommend that you update your browser to the latest version.

Odonata Conservation

According to the European Red List of Dragonflies (2010), there are 138 species of Odonata found in Europe of which 48 species are damselflies and 90 species are 'true' dragonflies. Approximately 15% of these European damselflies and dragonflies are threatened in Europe, compared with 13% of the birds and 9% of the butterflies. Furthermore, 24% of the European damselflies and dragonflies have declining populations, and for 12% of European damselflies and dragonflies the available information is too limited to define any population trends. 

However, research and monitoring of damselflies and dragonflies is not only needed for the sake of Odonata conservation itself; damselflies and dragonflies are important indicator species. Odonata are highly sensitive to habitat quality, making damselflies and dragonflies excellent bio-indicators, well-suited for evaluating environmental changes. 

Of the 138 species of damselflies and dragonflies that are known to occur in Europe, 64 species (46%) have been recorded within the Rodopi (Rhodope) Mountains, making this one of the most important regions for Odonata in Europe. Not only are the Rodopi (Rhodope) Mountains of conservation significance for Odonata because of the great diversity and abundance of damselflies and dragonflies, they are also the site of important new discoveries, such as the discovery of the Bulgarian Emerald (Somatochlora borisi) there by Milen Marinov in 1999.

Although there has already been a great deal of Odonata research conducted in certain regions of the Rodopi (Rhodope) Mountains, there are still many rivers, streams and water-bodies that are devoid of data and where further research is required. As Kutsarov et al. (2012) have pointed out in their summary of the current state of Bulgarian Odonata data: 'The important take-home message is of course for putting more efforts in future sampling on mountain regions and Bulgarian larger rivers. This must be one of the priority targets for individuals and groups wishing to get a direct contact with truly unexplored parts of Europe because, as it is obvious from the short case study presented here, even a short visit to Bulgaria could bring some new UTM-grids to the Odonata coverage map of the country.'