17 December 2004

'Extinct' dragonfly makes a comeback

A species of dragonfly thought to be extinct has made a dramatic comeback after the removal of invasive alien trees under the Working for Water programme.

The Ceres Stream damsel, or Metacnemis angusta, had not been spotted since 1920, the November/December issue of the Water Wheel reported.

The removal of invasive alien plants in wetland systems has resulted in almost instant recovery of endemic species, including the Ceres Stream damsel.

Once the invaders are removed, adequate sunlight can penetrate the systems and streamside bushes recover, the report says.

These measures also saved the basking malachite damselfly, or Chlorolestes apricans, which was on the brink of extinction.

The harlequin sprite damselfly, or Pseudagrion newtoni, had disappeared from its native area, but has now appeared in a site where alien trees and cattle grazing of river banks had been restricted.


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