New Zealand Species

I have not yet visited New Zealand but a trip is planned for November/early December 2017. Although this is  to be largely a landscape photography trip, I may get the chance to spot some of the few species of odonata that New Zealand possesses. For that trip I have done some research which has 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 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 dragonflies are rare migrants with very few records, so in reality there are just 15 resident species. The species possibly to be encountered on a 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 spring and several species will not emerge until later in the flight season, giving us no chance of seening those. On a November tourist trip such as ours, I think I may have just 7 or 8 potential targets.

Zygoptera (Damselflies)

  • Austrolensis colensonis (Blue Damselfly)
  • Ischnura aurora aurora (Gossamer Damselfly) [1]
  • Xanthocnemis zealandica (Common Redcoat)
  • Xanthocnemis sinclairi (Alpine Redcoat) [2]
  • Xanthocnemis sobrina (Kauri Redcoat) [3]
  • Xanthocnemis tuani  (Chatham Redcoat) [4]

Anisoptera (Dragonflies)

  • Antipodochlora braueri  (Dusk Dragonfly)
  • Aeshna brevistyla (Lancer Dragonfly) [5]
  • Diplacodes bipunctata (Red/Wandering Percher) [1]
  • Procordulia grayi (Yellow-spotted Dragonfly)
  • Uropetala chiltoni (Mountain Giant)
  • Uropetala carovei (Bush Giant)
  • Procordulia smithii (Ranger Dragonfly)
  • Hemicordulia australiae (Sentry Dragonfly/Australian Emerald)
  • Hemianax papuensi (Baron Dragonfly)

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 list both as synonyms.