England

White-faced darter dragonfly reintroduced to Cheshire

  • 29 May 2014
  • From the section England
White-faced darter dragonfly Image copyright dave kitching
Image caption The white-faced darter dragonfly was last recorded in Cheshire in 2003

A project to reintroduce a rare dragonfly to Cheshire has had "a successful start", a wildlife trust has said.

The white-faced darter dragonfly was last recorded in the county in 2003.

Cheshire Wildlife Trust (CWT) have placed 100 larvae into pools in Delamere Forest in the hope that they will thrive.

It is only the second time a dragonfly reintroduction has been attempted, following a project in Cumbria in 2010.

'Long-term hope'

The dragonfly, which CWT said was "one of the UK's rarest", is only found in Cumbria, Staffordshire, Shropshire and Scotland.

The Cheshire project saw larvae collected from healthy populations in pools in Shropshire and Staffordshire and relocated to the forest.

Dr Vicky Nall, who led the project, said it had been a "tense" time for her team, as they waited to see the "first tentative emergence of the darters and begin the painstaking process of counting the dried larval cases they leave behind".

However, she said that because "we've been blessed with a relatively consistent warm and sunny spring so far, the signs are good for a successful number of adults making their way into the air this year".

The scheme has seen Delamere Forest's managers, the Forestry Commission, remove trees that cast shadows across the open pools the insects require.

A CWT spokesman said the "long-term hope is that habitats in the forest may be adapted to allow the dragonflies to expand into additional areas".

Image copyright dr vicky nall
Image caption The relocation team counted the dried larval cases to see how many larvae had hatched

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