We’ve asked conservation organisations around the world to nominate a species that they believe to be overlooked, underappreciated and unloved, and tell us why they think that they deserve a fair share of the limelight, this Valentine’s Day.
Each nominee’s story is featured on the Arkive blog with information on the species, what makes them so special, the conservation organisation that nominated them and how they are working to save them from extinction.
Click the ‘unloved species’ tag above to see all of the nominations and their blogs.
Once you have perused the blogs you can vote for your favourite to help get them into the top ten unloved species and get them the recognition that they truly deserve! Share your favourite with others using the #LoveSpecies hashtag on Twitter and Facebook and tell them why they should vote for them too. Voting closes on February 14th at 23:59 PST (07:59 GMT).
Join us and our conservation partners in celebrating and raising awareness for some of the world’s most unloved species this Valentine’s Day!
Species: Southern damselfly
Nominated by: British Dragonfly Society
Conservation status: Near Threatened (global) Endangered (British Red List)
Why do you love it? The southern damselfly is a delicate little insect with an incredible life cycle. They start life as larvae, small green-brown creatures which live underwater. They are pretty underwhelming in the looks department, but they make up for this by being fierce hunters. The larvae have a modified lower lip which works like an arm, firing out at incredible speeds to grab unwitting prey. The southern damselfly is a true case of the Ugly Duckling.
The adult are beautiful – the males are a brilliant blue with black markings and the females are either blue or green with black markings. Along with other damselflies, the southern damselfly has a history steeped in myth and legend. An old name for damselflies was ‘devil’s darning needle’ with folklore dictating that if you slept on the banks of a stream, a damselfly would use its thin body to sew your eyelids shut! It is a magical, and sadly increasingly rare, sight to witness these beautiful insects flitting above sparkling waters on delicate wings.
What are the threats to the southern damselfly? The habitat type of the southern damselfly have been particularly hard hit in recent times, with habitat loss, water pollution and inappropriate habitat management causing population major declines. Although the species is found across south and west Europe and north Africa, it is either extinct or nearly extinct in seven European countries and declining in three.
What are you doing to save it? The British Dragonfly Society is working hard to recover the UK’s southern damselfly populations. Along with other NGO’s, statutory agencies, universities and dedicated individuals, we have worked to carry out habitat improvement work, population monitoring and re-introduction projects across the species’ British range. However, to secure the future of the southern damselfly in Britain, more people need to be aware of the needs of the species and manage the land accordingly. This is a species where a few simple changes to the habitat can achieve amazing results. The southern damselfly needs all our support if we are to make these changes happen.