Dragonflies in the Mount Moreland Conservancy area
Dragonflies are plentiful within the Mount Moreland Conservancy, it is a sheer delight to watch
these colourful creatures happily enjoying the Mount Moreland landscape.
There are approximately 750 species of dragonfly in Africa, with the greatest diversity in the tropics. South
Africa is home to 158 species (90 ‘true' dragonflies, and 68 damsel flies). Dragonflies differ from damsel flies in
being stouter and larger in shape, having eyes which are joined on the top of the head, and in having differently
shaped fore and hind wings.
Click on an image to find out more
Michael Samways is an entomologist at the University of Stellenbosch, and chair of the IUCN/SSC Invertebrate
Conservation Subcommittee. As such, he is an expert on insect conservation, and is one of the scientists leading
the charge to protect these often forgotten, but essential animals.
But conservation is rarely simple. As Dr. Samways explained, “South Africa has many rare and threatened endemic
invertebrates. Among these are certain damsel flies and dragonflies that are globally threatened, principally by
invasive alien trees; two such species are the Cape bluet and Ceres stream damsel. Both of these species were
thought to be extinct: The Ceres stream damsel had not been seen since 1920, while the Cape bluet had not been
recorded since 1962. However, in 2004, both species were found inhabiting a small pool of standing water in the
The area had recently been cleared of invasive alien trees, including eucalyptus. Samways added, “This is the
first time that such a recovery has been demonstrated and is a very positive and exciting development showing that
removal of invasive trees can result in recovery of some natural species that were on the brink of extinction.”
Dragonflies are a key indicator of
environmental health, red the link below to see what a positive result is
achieved by removing alien and exotic vegetation.
Impacts of invasive alien
plants on Red-Listed
South African dragonflies (Odonata)