Friday, May 06, 2011

Damsels and Dragons...

Looking back over my last blog entry, I see now that it was a bit 'wordy' and so, as this is primarily a photo blog, I've decided to let the pictures do most of the talking this time.

First up is a photo of a newly emerged Damselfly. These are very pale when they first emerge but colour-up quickly. They are also unable to fly until they have pumped their wings up to full capacity, and so they are good subjects for a few shots.

Once able to fly, the next thing on the mind of a damselfly that would be no more than an hour old at most, is food. They are voracious eaters and will munch through a good number of bugs and insects.

Once suitably fuelled, they would be looking to breed. 

These are actually dragonflies pictured here but damselflies also adopt the same 'wheel' position for erm, erm...well...reproduction purposes.

Damselflies come in a fair variety of colours and sizes, although all are smaller than the dragonflies. Picture below is a  'White-legged' Damsel.

Amongst the most beautiful of our native damselflies are the delicate 'Beautiful Demoiselle' (Calopteryx splendens). These are around between May & September and despite the 'old wives tale' do not live for only a day.

All of the damsels are weak-flying and have four wings that are generally held vertically above the body when at rest.
Although they do colour-up fairly soon after emerging from the larval case, they don't acquire full colour for several days.

As you'll be able to see in the above photograph, dragonflies are somewhat sturdier and of a heavier appearance. This one is a Broad-Bodied-Chaser (Libellula depressa) and these have a particularly broad abdomen, hence the name.

The strange looking thing below the dragonfly image is the larval case, or skeleton as some refer to it, of the dragonfly. Seen from below it shows the strange appendage under the 'chin' that's always fascinated me. I really should do some research and find out just what it's purpose is/was.

A blog entry wouldn't be complete without a spider shot and I'm sure there will be those amongst my readers who would only be disappointed if I failed to include one and so today, it's the turn of another crab spider.

The other thing of note that's been happening locally is the ever increasing amount and diversity of bug nymphs (youngsters) that are emerging almost daily now.

 It's that time of year when every time I walk the Kent countryside around my home, I just never know what I'll find. The exciting thing for me is that most of the bugs go through around four or five 'moults' and with each one, there emerges a slightly (or in some cases very) different looking creature.

By the way, how many realise that spiders moult too? Yes, the whole front of the abdomen splits open and the spider crawls out leaving behind the 'exoskeleton' complete with eye membrane.

Spider moult

Leptopterna sp Bug nymph (I think)

Cyllecoris histrionius (A Mirid Bug nymph)

That's about all for this entry. I hope to be back fairly soon with another entry.

By the way, in case you weren't aware of it, you can view a larger size of any of the photographs in each blog entry by just clicking on the chosen image.

Until the next time then...

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