Southern damselfly boosted in Pembrokeshire by 'fantastic' conservation

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Southern Damselfly - photo taken by Hugh VenablesImage source, Hugh Venables
Image caption,
Southern damselflies are mainly seen in the Preseli Hills and the New Forest

A rare insect has seen its numbers boosted in Pembrokeshire as a result of conservation work.

A summer survey found the southern damselfly at seven sites in the county where it had not been seen before.

The Preseli Hills is one of two main UK strongholds, along with England's New Forest, of the near-threatened species.

Butterflies had also benefitted from work to encourage landowners to remove non-native invasive plants, national park authority members were told.

The news came in a presentation of an annual report on conservation in the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park, according to the Local Democracy Reporting Service.

It detailed work funded by a £19,000 grant from Natural Resources Wales aimed at improving habitats at more than 100 sites.

Conservation officer Mary Chadwick named Blaencleddau, Dolau Isaf and Waun Isaf as areas where enhancements had been made, with adult southern damselflies seen in previously unknown locations.

Smaller and more slender than dragonflies, damselflies are weak fliers and usually seen near water.

Ms Chadwick added that their emergence coincided with wet weather, meaning there could well be more damselflies that were not spotted.

"It gives us confidence to continue the work," she said, adding the enhancements had benefitted other wildlife including the marsh fritillary butterfly.

At Freshwater East, the brown hairstreak butterfly had also been recorded for the first time.

Dr Rosie Plummer, a member of the national park authority, praised the conservation work, saying "the breadth of coverage with a small team is fantastic".

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