New Zealand Species

For the duration of November 2017, we finally made a long overdue trip to New Zealand. It was largely a general tourism/landscape photography trip but we took every opportunity to seek out odonata en route.

Prior to our trip I did what research I could and that led to the development of this New Zealand odonata species list. Information seems to be scant – almost as scant as New Zealand odonata species. My source for this list was entirely the Guide to NZ Dragonflies website. [There is a book, The Dragonflies of New Zealand by Richard J. Rowe, but it is currently sadly out of print.]

There is a woeful paucity of Odonata in New Zealand with a total of just 17 recorded species. These comprise 6 Zygoptera (Damselflies) and 11 Anisoptera (Dragonflies). However, two of those Anisoptera are rare migrants with very few records, so in reality there are just 15 resident species. The species likely to be encountered on a general tourist visit are further reduced by a few having very specific and limited geographic ranges which are noted in the list below.

November is New Zealand’s early spring and several species would not emerge until later in the flight season, giving us no chance of seeing those, either. On a November tourist trip such as ours, I thought I had just 7 or 8 potential targets. As it happened, we saw 6 of the species in New Zealand plus two others from Australia, which we had visited prior to New Zealand.

Zygoptera (Damselflies)

Anisoptera (Dragonflies)

Rare Migrants/Vagrants

[1] – mainly/only North Island.

[2] – limited to the mountainous headwaters of the Rakaia River.

[3] – limited to Northland and Corumandel.

[4] – limited to Chatham Island.

[5] – confusingly/frustratingly, this species is known as Adversaeshna brevistyla (Australian Emerald) in Australia, though the IUCN Red List says Adversaeshna is a sub-genus. Dr. Dennis Paulson lists both as synonyms.