Abundance patterns of dragonflies along a wetland buffer

Jason T. Bried, Gary N. Ervin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Local abundance of animals with aquatic and terrestrial life stages may be useful to determine criteria for protective buffers around wetlands. Maiden flights and daily commutes of adult Odonata (damselflies, dragonflies) occur between wetland breeding area and adjacent upland habitat used for foraging, maturation, and nocturnal roosting. We measured abundance of dragonflies adjacent to a wetland in Mississippi, USA to determine if abundance varied with distance from water. Sexually mature males and combined females/prereproductive adult males (females-immatures) were recorded 10-160 m from the littoral edge of a 185 ha shallow reservoir. The number of dragonflies was dominated by Celithemis eponina throughout the study period. Mean abundance did not change with distance from water out to 160 m, both for all species combined and for each of three dominant species. In the assemblage, mature males outnumbered females-immatures in the 10-40 m distance, whereas the reverse occurred in the 130-160 m distance. At the species-level, there was a mixed response in the mature male: female-immature ratio, with little resemblance to the assemblage pattern. Results of this study suggest that wide buffer zones around wetlands may be essential to protect Odonata assemblages, especially females and sexually immature adults. Furthermore, odonate flight behavior may serve as a useful biocriterion to determine the width of ecologically significant wetland buffers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)878-883
Number of pages6
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Adult dragonflies
  • Aquatic invertebrates
  • Biological indicators
  • Odonata
  • Wetland buffers

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Ecology
  • Environmental Science(all)


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