Skip to main content

Biological Records

If you are going to make all your dragonfly watching efforts count then you need to record certain pieces of information that allow the records to be included in the Shropshire database. The 4 vital parts to a biological record are: 


The name of the person making the record (Recorder) and the name (if different) of the person who identified the insect (Determiner). If the County Recorder is sent an unidentified photograph for example, the sender is the recorder and the County Recorder will be the determiner once they have identified the specimen. For the majority of dragonfly records the recorder and determiner are the same person.


The two part Latin name of the dragonfly species eg. Aeshna cyanea for Southern Hawker. This is important as local variations occur in common names, but the species name remains the same. The species descriptions pages contain all the Latin names you will need.


Ideally 2 pieces of information- the name of the site where you made the record as it appears on an Ordnance Survey map (if unnamed on the map then use the name closest to the location) and a Grid Reference for the site. This allows the County Recorder to double check the location of the record. The Grid Reference should ideally have 2 letters at the start that appear in the corner of the map and is usually 4 figure or 6 figure depending upon the appropriate level of accuracy.


The day, month and year that you saw the dragonfly in question.

Other additional pieces of information such as number of adults, copulating pairs, ovipositing females, larvae, exuviae and emergent adults add to the quality of the record that is submitted. These are listed on this recording spreadsheet which also provides a useful way to store and submit your records.

STOP PRESS: The BDS have recently announced that they would also like recorders to note if the species named are a ‘complete list’ of those present at a given site. This allows them to do more robust analysis with the data. They are also encouraging people to ‘adopt a site’ which simply means making 3 visits to the same site between May and September and making a complete list on each occasion. If you wish to adopt a Shropshire site near you please do get in touch. More information can be found via this link. complete lists

Download spreadsheet here

Dragonfly Recording Spreadheet

Photograph © M. Randall

The most valuable records!

Recording exuviae (like this Southern Hawker) is of particular value as it confirms that a species has successfully bred at a specific water body. This is important information allowing us to recognise and protect valuable dragonfly breeding sites within the county. As explained in the life cycle pages, all Shropshire dragonfly species spend the majority of their lifetime as larvae which in some cases can be a number of years so correct management of valuable breeding habitat is vital.

Where do the records go?

The records are sent to the County Recorder who will check and verify them. The County Recorder may well get in touch to check some details particularly if you are finding unusual species in unusual places! Records can be sent in throughout the season or all sent together at the end. All records received will then contribute to national data via the Dragonfly Recording Network and the local database held by Shropshire Ecological Data Network. As valuable as historic records are, biological recording is an ongoing process and we need people out and about recording what is happening now, so please do get involved.

How to send in your records

With advances in the use of the internet the ways to enter your records are now many and varied:


Written records sent to the address of the County Recorder. Get in touch via the contact form for further details.


Written records or records compiled in a spreadsheet can be emailed to the County Recorder at


A biological recording website which allows you to input all the information and attach photographs. Records are accessed and verified by the County Recorder. Click here for iRecord.

British Dragonfly Society website

The BDS is now encouraging everyone where possible to use iRecord or the iRecord Dragonfly Web App. Helpful information and links to iRecord are available on the BDS website. Records entered on iRecord will again be accessed and verified by the County Recorder. Click here for the BDS website.