Odonata.EU is a site that provides photographs of European dragonflies and damselflies, also know as the Odonata order of insects. A steady decline of the Odonata insect order can be observed over the years as more and more habitats are destroyed and our climate changes in ever more dramatic ways. Dragonflies seem to suffer most from Earth’s climatic change. Their inability to fold their wings means they are easily exposed to the full wind power of most storms. Dragonflies need more food than damselflies so their overall survival chance and diversity is at risk. Damselflies fare a bit better since their folded wings expose them less to the elements.

There are several different Odonata species that can be observed in a single season that typically lasts from May to October. Observing that same area over a five year timespan will show that there are different dragonfly species each year. Some species emerge once a year, every other year, every 3 years or every 5 years. Most countryside development takes place in a much shorter timeframe and so impact to habitats may go virtually unnoticed to those making the changes.

If you want to contribute to Odonata survival than please consider to make a large pond. These ponds are inhabited in only a few years time. Try to keep in mind to have a fish free area either by using specific plants that fish can not swim trough or by using other obstructions. Also the depth should be sufficient so the pond does not freeze completely during the winter. Be safe and keep children away from ponds! Please also make a shallow area where animals that fall into the pond can swim to and crawl out. Shallow pond areas are used by birds to drink and wash and insects can be observed to benefit as well. Also stay involved with waterscape changes in your area. Significantly raising or lowering water levels can already influence Odonata populations. Introducing fish and plants into existing waterscapes influences Odonata habitats as well.

The most effective way to observe Odonata is using a digital camera. Identification is difficult even if you have been  observing and identifying Odonata for several years. Photos allow you to discuss your finds in forums and point out perhaps abnormalities or illnesses not well documented by the interest community.

Never capture or handle insects it means braking the law in most European countries.

My appeal to research institutions worldwide is to please share information about what you learn about animals and insects and to publish DNA and other research results to the larger community. It is a tragic waste and disrespect of nature when all research institutions kill and dissect the same species over and over without making results public. To give my grievance some perspective; On average about 50 animals/insects have to be killed to obtain a useful DNA sample based on which facts about that species can be stated with reasonable certainty. On average I see between 1 and 5 same-specie Odonata on a day in the field. On average one in 8 years is a “good summer” for dragonflies to thrive. Odonata only live in the wild, incubation fails as Odonata nymphs need to be kept in a hibernation state during the winter months.

This site is my micro-philanthropy contribution to the wellbeing of the Odonata order of insects. I hope you enjoy the site! 

Odonata presented on this site have not been handled in any way.  I do not condone the use of flash or light stobes for nature photography.