A Potential for the Use of Dragonfly (Odonata) Diversity as a Bioindicator of the Efficiency of Sewage Lagoons

Paul M. Catling


In order to determine whether a relationship existed between water quality and odonate fauna in sewage ponds, data were gathered at each of six ponds of similar construction and equal size and depth in an adjacent series of improving water quality at a lagoon system near Embrun in eastern Ontario. Numbers of nymphs of different species of Odonata were recorded in spring and fall, and similar data was collected on adults in June and July. The data on species presence and abundance for each of three pairs of cells in the sequence was then compared with the corresponding chemical data which included biological oxygen demand, total phophorus, total nitrogen and suspended solids. Water quality improved through the system and species diversity in the final ponds was twice that of the ponds receiving wastewater. Numbers of individuals also increased through the system. Occurrence of Anax junius, Enallagma civile and Ischnura verticalis alone was associated with poorer water quality. Higher diversity including Lestes disjunctus, Leucorrhinia spp. and Erythemis simplicicollis, indicates higher water quality. A potential exists for Odonata species diversity, numbers of individuals and occurrence of particular species to be used as a bioindicator of water quality and a means of evaluating efficiency of a lagoon system. Advantages include data that reflects a time period rather than a point in time and also low costs.


Odonata; dragonflies; bioindicator; biodiversity; sewage lagoons; pollution; water quality; Ontario; Canada

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.22621/cfn.v119i2.111

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