New Hampshire Dragonfly Survey

New Hampshire Dragonfly Survey

Photo by Pam Hunt

New Hampshire is home to over 160 species of dragonflies and damselflies, but until recently there was no comprehensive information on the status of these insects in the state. The NH Dragonfly Survey (NHDS) started in 2007 with two main goals: 1) determine the current distributions of all species in the state and 2) assess species of potential conservation concern. From 2007-2011, volunteer citizen scientists sought out these fascinating insects from the Connecticut River and Seacoast to Pittsburg and the top of Mount Washington. These data will serve as a baseline against which future changes – be they results of climate change, habitat loss, or other factors – can be measured. In addition, pooling our results with those of similar surveys in Maine, New York, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island, will allow biologists to get a regional picture of dragonfly distribution and abundance across the Northeast, which can inform conservation planning.

Approximately 100 volunteers submitted data to the NHDS, resulting in a database containing over 18,000 records of 157 species. Four of these species had never been recorded in the state before, and the known ranges of several others were found to be much larger than previously believed. All these data will be summarized in a final report in the spring of 2012, and although the NHDS will officially be over, a dedicated corps of “Dragonhunters” plans to continue searching and adding to our knowledge of these insects in the Granite State. More information on the NHDS, including links to a Flickr photo sharing site and an email group, can be found at https://sites.google.com/site/nhdragonflysurvey/. Funding for the NHDS was provided by the NH Fish and Game Department, private donations, and site-specific projects.

Project Leader: Pam Hunt