Species: Greek goldenring (Cordulegaster helladica)
Status: Endangered (EN)
Interesting Fact: Like other dragonflies, the Greek goldenring is a supreme aerial predator, hunting a range of other insects in flight.
The Greek goldenring is a large, beautifully patterned dragonfly with wide yellow rings encircling its otherwise black abdomen. It also has bright yellow markings on its thorax, and its eyes are large and green. Male and female Greek goldenrings are similar in appearance, but females are slightly larger, growing up to about eight centimetres in length. Like other golden-ringed dragonflies, the female Greek goldenring lays its eggs by driving them into the sandy sediments of rivers and brooks in a distinctive rhythmic, vertical flight. The eggs are likely to take a few weeks to hatch, but the larvae do not transform into adults for around two to six years, depending on the altitude. As its name suggests, the Greek goldenring is endemic to Greece, where it is found in the south of the country and on a number of islands.
Populations of the Greek goldenring are severely fragmented, and are believed to be declining due to habitat destruction and water extraction by humans. Some previously reported sites for this species have dried up in recent years, and drought and forest fires are also significant threats which could potentially increase due to climate change. Three subspecies of Greek goldenring are recognised, one of which is classified as Critically Endangered as it inhabits just a single spring at the Delphi archaeological site. No specific conservation measures are currently targeted at this threatened insect, but forest preservation and the control of water extraction have been recommended. The single site at Delphi also needs greater protection.
You can also find out more about conservation in Greece at WWF – Active conservation projects in Greece.
Liz Shaw, ARKive Text Author