The striking Brilliant Emerald dragonfly is an elusive and rare species in Britain, confined to only two areas in north-west Scotland and one in southern England. Steve Cham traces the history and ecology of the Brilliant Emerald in Britain, and explores the factors influencing its unusual distribution.
Brilliant Emerald Somatochlora metallica is one of Britain’s rarest and least understood dragonflies. It has been known as a resident breeding species for more than a century, with a bizarrely disjunct distribution that sees it confined to two small areas of north-west Scotland, one in southern England, and nowhere in between (Cham et al. 2014).