Preliminary atlas of the Turkish dragonflies (Odonata)

The distribution maps now on line are based on a data file containing a large amount of unpublished records as well as all published records. In total more than 5000 dots are present, each dot representing a records of a species within a 10x10 km-square. The maps are preliminarily and still contain numerous mistakes.

The diagrams give the flight-period of each species based on Turkish records. In the diagrams a record is defined as a species, at a certain date at a certain locality. So the diagrams are not influenced by the observed number of individuals. Sometimes records of larvae are included in the diagrams (e.g. an Anax immaculifrons larvae in March).

Damselflies Zygoptera                                              Dragonflies Anisoptera

Mapping Turkish dragonflies (Odonata)

At the moment a number of people is working together to create a datafile from published and unpublished records of Odonata from Turkey (see table). This datafile will be used to compile a preliminary atlas of the Turkish Odonata. It will also enable us to study the seasonal ecology and the altitudinal distribution of the species. At a later stage, the contents of the file will be published, via our internet site, and perhaps in print as well. It is our intention to have the file accessible for anyone interested.

Table: records of Turkish Odonata
Each record represents the occurrence of a species at a single locality, regardless of the number of specimens.


Number of records

Prior to Dumont 1977


Records published by Dumont 1977


Published since 1977 (incl. Demirsoy 1982)


Unpublished records (*1)


Unpublished records collection Amsterdam


Unpublished records collection Leyden


Unpublished records collection London


Total records available


*1 containing among others records of Jurg Arlt, Pierre Boudot, Frank Bos, R. Franke (collection museum Goerlitz), Gilles Jacquemin, collection Mathias Hartung, H. Henheik, G. Ihssen, Vincent Kalkman, Jens Kählert, Arjan Kop, Wolfgang Lopau, Harm Niesen, H. Pelny, Gert Jan van Pelt, Marcel Wasscher.


Preliminary results

The maps beneath do not contain all records currently available but give a good impression of our knowledge.

Distribution of records

The map beneath gives the distribution of all the records presently available in our datafile . Poorly investigated areas are the mountainous area between Sivas and Erzurum and the central plateau south of Ankara. The latter area is provides few interesting habitats and is therefore neglected by odonatologists. The eastern fifth of Turkey is likely to yield the most new additions for the Turkish fauna.

Turkey as ‘melting pot’ of biogeographical regions

In Turkey species of Afrotropical, Oriental and the Palaeartic faunas are to be found. The latter dominates the fauna. Species of an Afrotropical or Oriental origin are predominantly confined to the Mediterranean coast of southern Turkey. Some of these species extend as far west as the Greek Isles.

Examples of an Oriental (Orthetrum sabina) species, which is largely confined to the Mediterranean coast of Turkey.

The Palaeartic fauna in the North

For European odonatologists the southern part of Turkey has the most interesting fauna; as a consequence, this part has been visited most. A great number of yet unpublished data show that the odonatofauna of the North of the country is rather similar to that of Central Europe. For instance, Lestes sponsa and Aeshna cyanea (both common in Central Europe) have been recorded from quite a number of localities, and locally found to be common. This might also go for species known from only a few localities, e.g., Pyrrhosoma nymphula, Cordulia aenea, and Leucorrhinia pectoralis.

Distribution of Lestes sponsa (circles) and Aeshna cyanea (squares) in Turkey.

Knowledge versus ignorance

At present, the known localities of Libellula pontica and Sympetrum haritonovi show us that our knowledge on the distribution of these species is quite insufficient. L. pontica was considered to be confined to eastern Turkey. In 1999, van Pelt found the species in the province of Sakarya, only 150 km south east from Istanbul. Most records of Sympetrum haritonovi are from Central Asia, but the species has not been recorded from Iran. In Turkey, the species has now been found at three localities. The high altitude (>1800 m asl) at which the species has been found suggest that the species is confined to mountainous areas and therefore under recorded. In our view, the present known distribution of these species is merely a result of our lack of knowledge, showing the necessity of more fieldwork.

Gomphus schneideri is another species of which the distributional range is ill known. The species is known from Iran and therefore it is likely that it is widespread in the eastern parts of Turkey as well. But so far no records Gomphus schneideri have been published from the eastern part of Turkey.

All records currently available
All records currently available

Orthetrum sabina
Orthetrum sabina

Lestes sponsa (circles) and Aeshna cyanea (squares)
Lestes sponsa (circles) and Aeshna cyanea (squares)

Gomphus schneideri
Gomphus schneideri