Between 2007 and 2011, a small army of net-wielding naturalists was unobtrusively scouring the wetlands of New Hampshire for dragonflies and damselflies. And they found them – lots of them. Over those five years, roughly 100 volunteers collected more than 18,000 records of dragonflies and damselflies, representing 157 of the 162 species known to occur in the state.
These citizen scientists were participating in the New Hampshire Dragonfly Survey, a joint project of New Hampshire Audubon and the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department.
Dragonflies and damselflies are easier to study than many other insects, and they can serve as indicators of ecological health and water quality. In addition, several species are considered of conservation concern in the Northeast. A major goal of the survey was to better understand the New Hampshire distribution of these species, while at the same time collecting statewide data on the group as a whole.
Fish and Game nongame biologist Emily Brunkhurst. says “For the first time, we now have comprehensive statewide data for an entire order of insects.” These data can now be used to revise the state’s list of species of conservation concern, and also serve as a baseline against which future changes can be measured.
To learn more about the dragonfly survey, visit http://www.wildnh.com/Wildlife/Nongame/dragonflies.html.
For information on New Hampshire Audubon, including membership, volunteering, programs, and publications, call 603-224-9909, or visit http://www.nhaudubon.org.
Emily Brunkhurst: New Hampshire Fish and Game Department: 603-271-2461;