Species of the Month - July 2011

Golden-ringed Dragonfly

Cordulegaster boltonii

This dragonfly is easy to recognise as it's the only species having a black abdomen with yellow bands and 2 yellow stripes forming a V on top of the thorax.  It's a large and conspicuous creature, with females averaging 8.4 cm long and males 7.4 cm.  Immature female Southern Hawkers (rare) can look similar but the ground colour of their abdomen is brown, not black, and the stripes on top of the thorax are almost parallel, not forming a V.

Male Golden-ringed Dragonflies are often seen patrolling burns.  If one passes you while you're beside a burn it will probably come back again in the other direction shortly afterwards, and continue this pattern indefinitely.  Females use their long ovipositor to lay eggs in mud or gravel at the edges of burns.

This species may also be found well away from water, usually in moorland habitats.  Unlike most dragonfly species, they do not frequent lochs, though may be seen where a burn enters a loch.

Cordulegaster boltonii, male   Cordulegaster boltonii


Cordulegaster boltonii, emergent adult

This picture shows an adult Golden-ringed just after emergence from its larval exuvia, which it is clinging to as it expands its wings and hardens its body.

Cordulegaster boltonii eating wasp

This photo by Sallie shows a one eating a wasp.

Please send in your sightings using the form below.

Date of sighting 
Grid reference 
Name of finder 
Your name (if different) 
Email (not needed if I already know it!) 
Number seen 
Any other details, e.g habitat, behaviour? 


By filling in this form you agree that the information contained in this form may be collated and disseminated manually or electronically for environmental decision-making, education, research and other public benefit uses in accordance with the LNHG data access policy.  Your email address will not form part of the record and will not be passed on to anyone.

Carl Farmer
G Biological Records Manager

Sightings so far

On 10 June Gordon Jack saw one on St Finan's Isle, Loch Shiel

On 12 July Sallie and Christine saw one by pools near Sligachan, Isle of Skye.

Also on 12 July, Gela spotted one on the Kilchrenan road near the start of the Loch Tromlee track.

On 14 July I saw a male in Glen Fyne, on a hillside, flying back and forth over a bit of dry sheep-track which may become a small burn after rain, but am not sure if this was true patrolling behaviour.  It landed on vegetation several times, once in order to eat something, but I could not see what this was.

Also on 14 July Gela saw one flying over a vegetable patch at Kilchrenan.

On 16 July on the lnhg walk to Ardmaddy, Barbara spotted a Golden-ringed on coastal marsh vegetation.  It only showed itself briefly then flew off.

On 18 July I saw a male at Dunollie.  It landed on vegetation at the edge of a grassy path through bracken, stayed there for a while and then flew off over some marshy ground.

On 20 July Sallie found one in her sun lounge at Onich, flying at the windows trying to get out!

On 23 July I saw a male perched on a stone eating an insect where a burn enters Loch Tromlee, and then patrolling the burn, and a possibly different individual about 400 yds away hovering over boggy ground.

On 25 July Sallie saw one at Inchree near Onich.

Also on 25 July I saw males at 3 different places on Rannoch Moor patrolling strips of boggy burn.

On 26 July we saw a male, first spotted by Richard, on the midweek field trip to the cemetery loch near Oban.

1 Aug - thank you everyone for the above sightings.  These show that the GRD is as plentiful as ever this year and has not been affected by the weather condtions that have so reduced the numbers of butterflies and some other insects.


Cordulegaster boltonii, pair in tandem

Note you can still send in records for past species of the month.  Here is the list of species we've had so far:

Jun 2011 - 7-spot Ladybird
May 2011 - Green Hairstreak
Apr 2011 - Townhall Clock

Mar 2011 - Frogspawn

Next month's page
Current month's page

All photos and other content copyright Carl Farmer except where stated