Abstract 1. Responses of biota to climate change have been well documented for a restricted number of taxa. This study examined shifts in phenology of 37 species of the aquatic insect order Odonata in the Netherlands over the last decade.
2. The present study shows that adults of the Dutch dragonflies and damselflies have advanced their flight dates over recent years due to complex effects of changing temperature regimes on the timing of adult flight dates.
3. Flight dates did not respond to changes in autumn/winter temperatures, advanced with increases in spring temperatures of the focal and previous year, and delayed with increases in summer temperatures of the previous year. Climate change consequently advanced the flight dates of the Odonata because only spring temperatures have increased during the study period.
4. The findings imply that climate change can evoke strong phenological responses in aquatic insects. Moreover, shifts in phenology due to climate change are likely to vary both spatially or temporally, depending on the exact nature of climate change.