Monday, 19 May 2014

Early Damsels and a pair of Dragons.

The last few days have been sunny and pleasantly warm, even quite hot at times!
So, making the most of the good weather, I’ve been out and about taking photographs of the newly emerging wild flowers, butterflies, damselflies and dragonflies. It’s been noticeable over the last week or so, with the warmth of the sun (and a well watered spring!!), how the the countryside has taken on a new lushness of growth and colour.

The ‘early’ damselflies and dragonflies have started to take to the wing now…

Banded Demoiselle (calopteryx splendens)….The males are very territorial and will fight off anything that flies into their patch. They also ‘court’ the females by flicking their wings open and performing an aerial dance in front of them.
Dams and Drags 1  BD Male
Dams and Drags 2  BD

Azure Damselfly (coenagrion puella)….One of the two most common blue damselflies, confusingly the females are mostly green with black on top of the abdomen.
Dams and Drags 3  AZ

Large Red Damselfly (pyrrhosoma nymphula)….One of the very first to emerge in the spring and quite widespread but avoids fast flowing water. The males, which appear in greater numbers than the females, are aggressive and very territorial.
Dams and Drags 4  LR

Blue-tailed Damselfly (ischnura elegans)….Another quite common damselfly. always found close to water, unlike some of the other damselflies which can roam widely. The females come in a variety of colours from green through violet to blue.
Dams and Drags 5  Bt

When damselflies and dragonflies emerge as adults they first go through a stage where they are known as tenerals. During this stage which, depending on the species, can last from a few days to a few weeks their wings remains ‘milky’ and reflective and their flight is weak and fluttery. And to make identification a little difficult they lack the colouring of the adult and appear pale and drab.

How the dictionary calls it…
(Zool.) Of, pertaining to, or designating, a condition assumed by the imago of certain Neuroptera, after exclusion from the pupa. In this state the insect is soft, and has not fully attained its mature colouring.

Common Blue Damselfly (enallagma cyathigerum)….The most common and widely distributed of our native damselflies. Found in association with both still and flowing water, although immatures can be found some distance away from water bodies.
Dams and Drags 6  CB tm
Teneral Male
Dams and Drags 7  CB tm
Teneral Male
Dams and Drags 8  CB tf
Teneral Female
Females, unlike other blue damselflies, can be identified by the presence of a ‘spine’ in front of the ovipositor, under section 8 of the abdomen. (it can be clearly seen in this image)
Dams and Drags 9  CB adm
Adult Male

Red-eyed Damselfly (erythromma najas)….found only in the southern part of the country it prefers large bodies of standing water with lots of floating vegetation, especially water-lilies where the male likes to ‘rest’ on the leaves while waiting for an opponent to come into range when they’ll fight over the territorial rights.

Dams and Drags 10  CB Re tm
                         Teneral Male

Hairy Dragonfly (brachytron pratense)…. The smallest of our resident hawkers and the earliest to emerge in early May and June. Found in the southern parts of the UK, where the male can be seen patrolling over clear unpolluted and well vegetated water as it searches for females while fighting off any interlopers.

Dams and Drags 12  Hry

Four-spotted Chaser (libellula quadrimaculata)….Widespread over most of the country and readily identified by the ‘four’ wing spots. The male can be seen perched on a single stem of vegetation as it waits to see off any intruder, or to intercept a passing receptive female when they will briefly mate while on the wing.
Dams and Drags 11  4SP


Margaret Adamson said...

Hi Trevor these are all marvelous shots of these 'flies' and wonderful information, (especially for me)in trying to ID them. I have not seen any yet however I suppose I have not been around their habitat. Thanks.

Bob Bushell said...

What a bunch of beautiful Damselflies, they are superb, thanks Trevor.

ADRIAN said...

You have excelled here. Absolutely stunning quality and variety. Just brilliant. I didn't know they teneralled so I learnt something new today.

douglas mcfarlane said...

These are superb as usual the four spotted chaser is my favourite. Well done.

The Herald said...

Thank you Margaret. They're almost as easy to ID as the There's quite a few different species out and about now, your local river or pond is where you should find some!...[;o)

Thanks Bob...[;o)

Thank you Adrian, See, you're not too old to learn something new after all!...[;o)

Thanks Douglas. I'm in two minds about the four-spotted photo...the 'pose' could have been better, although it's a little different to the normal way that they're shown!...[;o)

Frank said...

You have been busy. Super series and info Trevor.

I can recall more arguments about the ID of teneral Common Blues when the uninitiated are convinced they are another species!!

The Herald said...

Frank, thank you. Yeh, those ID's can be a headache[;o)


What a great set of photos, i have only seen a few so far this year,so i must get near the water.


holdingmoments said...

Excellent series Trevor.
You should do a book.

The Herald said...

Thanks Peter. I hope you find some...[;o)

Cheers Keith, I don't think I'm up to being a proper[;o)

Roy Norris said...

A great collection of images Trevor, you have certainly been getting about to find all these.
I did glimpse a Four Spot the other day (Glimpse being the operative word.)
You caught this one in a classic pose.

The Herald said...

Thank you Roy. Yeh, I made the most of the fine!...[;o)

grammie g said...

Hi Trevor... It must be nice I haven't only seen one butterfly so far!! Last year was not good for butterflies and dragonflies, been hoping this would be a better year !!
Excellent images of these colorful beauties !! They are almost magical looking creatures!!


The Herald said...

Hi Grace...Thank you. Yeh they are beautiful creatures and I do enjoy going out and photographing them. Maybe when the rain stops and the temps. rise I'll go out again?!...[;o)