Monitoring reveals: extremely large variety of dragonfly species at the golf course in Andermatt

April 28, 2021

The Andermatt Swiss Alps Golf Course is designed to be in harmony with nature and is operated as sustainably as possible. Nearly forty percent of the land on the golf course is dedicated to the cantonal conservation area Bäz. The golf course thus offers substantial space for biodiversity in the Urseren Valley. This has now been confirmed by various monitoring studies of flora and fauna species. The dragonfly population count performed last year reveals that an astonishingly large number of dragonfly species have made their home on the grounds of the golf course.

In 2020 Theiler Landschaft GmbH was engaged by Andermatt Swiss Alps and the Canton of Uri to monitor dragonflies at the Andermatt Swiss Alps Golf Course. Twelve species were identified, which in view of the elevation shows considerable diversity. The numerous bodies of water, which vary in size and depth and are home to diverse types of water plants in various stages of succession, constitute the foundation for the diversity that one encounters. Last year, the Swiss Ornithological Institute in Sempach found that the area is home to a very large variety of birds (see Birrer, Simon (2019): Vogelwelt auf dem Golfplatz Andermatt 2019 ) (Birdlife at the Andermatt Golf Course 2019, German only).

Dragonflies at the Andermatt Swiss Alps Golf Course

Species name EnglishSpecies name Latin
Southern hawkerAeshna cyanea
Common hawkerAeshna juncea
Emperor dragonflyAnax imperator
Broad-bodied chaserLibellula depressa
Four-spotted chaserLibellula quadrimaculata
Black darterSympetrum danae
Red-veined darterSympetrum fonscolombii
Vagrant darterSympetrum vulgatum
Common blue damselflyEnallagma cyathigerum
Small red-eyed damselflyErythromma viridulum
Large red damselflyPyrrhosoma nymphula
Emerald damselflyLestes sponsa

During three inspections in the summer of 2020, a total of 12 dragonfly species were
observed on the grounds of the golf course.

The documented dragonfly species include two that are potentially at risk in Switzerland: the black darter and the emerald damselfly. The monitors identified only one small red-eyed damselfly and one black darter. The small red-eyed damselfly normally lives in warm, lowlying areas, but it is fond of ponds covered with broad-leaved pondweed, which are found on the golf course in Andermatt. The authors of the report believe that the reason for this are socalled dispersal flights by individual animals to explore new habitats. In the case of both species, however, they say that it is quite conceivable that larger populations will form in the near future and use the bodies of water for reproduction.

Favoured new bodies of water

The population count revealed that the new bodies of water on the golf course are home to a large variety of dragonfly species, with high individual numbers. The bodies of water, which have existed for some time and are accordingly quite overgrown, apparently tend to be avoided by species that prefer standing water pools and open water surfaces. As a result, regular maintenance work is performed on the golf course’s bodies of water in order to keep them attractive to these species in the long term.

Contributing to dragonfly protection

According to BirdLife Switzerland, the number of dragonflies in Switzerland is steadily declining (see Media Release of 8 April 2021 (German, French and Italian only)). Of the 76 species that have been identified in the country, three are now extinct, and 30 have been assigned to various risk levels. This is because in many areas, the dragonfly habitat is being destroyed. By maintaining spacious natural and water areas on the golf course and operating it in harmony with nature, Andermatt Swiss Alps is playing an active role in protecting dragonflies and preserving biodiversity in Switzerland. For instance, dragonflies were an important concern back when the golf course was being designed. As early as 2008, the golf course designers and Andermatt Swiss Alps invited the Swiss Working Group for Dragonfly Protection to come to Andermatt to conduct an inspection so that the golf course’s bodies of water could be designed in a way that is friendly to dragonflies. The efforts have apparently met with success!

Libellenmonitoring 2020


Anax imperator (emperor dragonfly, male): Claudio Koller,
Lestes sponsa (emerald damselfly, male): Claudio Koller,
Sympetrum danae (black darter, male): Claudio Koller,

Andermatt Swiss Alps AG

Andermatt Swiss Alps AG, with registered office in Andermatt, plans, builds, and develops the year-round destination of Andermatt. In 2009 Andermatt Reuss came into being, with apartment buildings, hotels, and chalets. The Andermatt Swiss Alps Group also owns Andermatt-Sedrun Sport AG with its cableways, the catering brand Mountain Food, the Swiss Snowsports School Andermatt, an 18-hole, par-72 championship golf course, and the Andermatt Concert Hall. With the hotels, the sports infrastructure, the wide range of events on offer, and the properties, Andermatt Swiss Alps is pursuing the vision of becoming the “prime Alpine destination”. In doing so, it is committed to an intact environment and a sustainable future that will enable coming generations to have an extraordinary home. During high season, the Andermatt Swiss Alps Group has more than 1,000 employees working at the locations in Altdorf, Andermatt and Sedrun.

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