Wednesday, 12 August 2009

Common Darter Dragonfly

There were large numbers of Common and Ruddy Darter dragonflies at Bank's Pond during my visit last week. Many were flying in tandem and dipping repeatedly allowing the female to oviposit. Except for short periods perched on the ground or on vegetation, they were hardly ever still and spent most of their time darting off here and there no matter how carefully I approached. This behaviour might explain why they came to be called darters but it made them very difficult to photograph! My tactic, I think, during my next visit will be to sit still and let them come to me.

Obligingly, the pair below were joined in their copulation wheel for some minutes ...

Common Darter (Sympetrum striolatum)

While I was photographing a male Emerald damselfly I noticed a dragonfly larvae on an adjacent rush. It was perfectly still and it was only when I viewed an enlarged image on my camera screen that I realised it was an empty shell, its back split at the point where the adult had emerged. As identification is notoriously difficult, it is probably best not to speculate on which dragonfly larvae this is; none-the-less it was interesting to observe. If the picture points a reader in any particular direction regarding identification I would be pleased to hear from you.

(Thanks to ST for his suggestion that the exuvia is that of a Common Darter. My field guide suggested this also but I felt unable to comfirm.)


Anonymous said...

That is probably the best tactic with Dragonflies Emma.

ST said...

Hi Emma,
your exuvia is most likley a Common Darter, because the Common's have emerged only recently. Although in writing this there isn't much difference in a Ruddy. Nice find been looking for ages.

Try this book in the wild guides series BRITIAN'S DRAGONFLIES by Dave Smallshire / Andy Swash.
ISBN 1-903657-04-0.
It has a small section on the exuvia.( where my guess has come from)

Oh and if you return to bank's p in the near future. Try the trees along the road side the were alive with commons, the last time i was there.

Emma Anderson said...

Thanks to ST and Roy for their comments and to ST for his id of the nymph.

holdingmoments said...

That's a cracking shot of the exuvia Emma. Something I've never seen before.