Page last updated at 09:59 GMT, Monday, 27 July 2009 10:59 UK

Dragonfly discovery a 'UK record'

Common hawker
Jonathan Willet found the female dragonfly laying eggs

A dragonfly found laying eggs in a mountain pond has set a UK record for the species, Highland Council's biodiversity officer has said.

Jonathan Willet said the female common hawker was at 830m on Tom a'Choinich, north of Loch Affric - the greatest height it has been found in the UK.

The previous highest recorded breeding was at 650m.

Mr Willet said the species - one of 18 dragonfly and damselfly found in the Highlands - favoured warm temperatures.

He said: "This species does breed very high up in continental Europe, up to 2,700 metres in the Swiss Alps, but the summers are a lot warmer there.

"The pond is found in a sheltered location in a south facing corrie, so this must create a warm microclimate within the pond allowing the larva to develop, but it may spend five years as a larva before it is fully grown and ready to emerge as an adult, which may only live for three to four weeks."

In May, Cairngorms National Park Authority asked the public for help surveying old curling ponds, lochs and bogs to gauge the numbers and varieties of dragonfly and damselfly in the park.

The area is believed to provide habitat for 13 types of the large insects.

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