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Odonata enter the biodiversity crisis debate: the first global assessment of an insect group

journal contribution
posted on 2023-04-03, 17:07 authored by Viola Clausnitzer, Vincent J Kalkman, Haruki Karube, Elena Malikova, Dennis Paulson, Kai Schutte, Frank Suhling, Reagan J Villanueva, Natalia von Ellenrieder, Keith Wilson, Mala Ram, Ben Collen, Jonathan E. M Baillie, Matjaz Bedjanic, William R. T Darwall, Klaas-Douwe B Dijkstra, Rory Dow, John Hawking
Murray-Darling Freshwater Research Centre

MDFRC item.

The status and trends of global biodiversity are often measured with a bias towards datasets limited to terrestrial vertebrates. The first global assessment of an insect order (Odonata) provides new context to the ongoing discussion of current biodiversity loss. A randomly selected sample of 1500 (26.4%) of the 5680 described dragonflies and damselflies was assessed using IUCN’s Red List criteria. Distribution maps for each species were created and species were assigned to habitat types. These data were analysed in respect to threat level for regions and habitat types. We have found that one in 10 species of dragonflies and damselflies is threatened with extinction. This threat level is among the lowest of groups that have been assessed to date, suggesting that previous estimates of extinction risk for insects might be misleading. However, Odonata only comprise a small invertebrate order, with above-average dispersal ability and relatively wide distribution ranges. For conservation science and policy to be truly representative of global biodiversity a representative cross-section of invertebrates needs to be included.


Publication Date



Biological conservation.








Netherlands: Elsevier.



Data source

arrow migration 2023-03-15 20:45. Ref: f1b71f. IDs:['', 'latrobe:32819', '', 'URN:ISSN:0006-3207', 'RM Number: 0100040196']