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Researchers create unique dragonfly and damselfly database

Researchers at Lund University in Sweden, among others, have created a unique database of the characteristics of approximately 1000 of the world’s 6400 species of damselfly and dragonfly.
Cordulia aenea.
Downy emerald. Photo: Erik Svensson

Erik Svensson, professor at Lund University, is one of the researchers behind the study. Compared with other animals and insects, he thinks dragonflies are underresearched. The aim is that the database will inspire more research around the world on dragonflies and damselflies.

Understanding threats

“Hopefully the database will also help us to understand which threats and risks of extinction there are for different species, and whether properties such as the size of their bodies increase or decrease the risk of extinction”, he says.

Nearly a year ago, researchers issued a warning in a report on insect deaths and the potential mass extinction of insects taking place in the world.  Other researchers denied the information in the warning. Erik Svensson says that dragonflies can be good indicators of changes to the climate and biodiversity.  

“Insects that live in wetlands find themselves under great threat. In particular in terms of climate change and extreme drought periods such as the summer of 2018, something we can expect in times to come”, says Erik Svensson.

An open database

The database is open to researchers around the world, which is significant, particularly for those studying dragonfly and damselfly properties in the tropics, an area in which there is almost a complete lack of information on dragonflies and damselflies.

The work on the database commenced in 2013 and is a collaboration between Lund University and the Global Biodiversity Information Facility in Copenhagen.  

The database is presented in an article in Scientific Data.

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