Monday, 14 June 2010


The large pond behind Mountjoy 4 hosts at least three different species of damselfly, that begin to emerge in large numbers in early June. This is the large red damselfly, one of the commonest species that will breed in small garden ponds.
Damselflies are smaller, more delicate relatives of dragonflies. Most species spend a year as aquatic nymphs before they emerge for their brief lives as adults.
Males and females often have different colour patterns. This is a male common bluetail.
During mating the male grabs the female just behind her head with the tip of his tail and they fly around in tandem before settling. She then bends her tail forward and grasps the back of his thorax, so they assume this 'mating wheel' configuration. This species is the common coenagrion.
 After mating they remain in tandem, while the female lands and dips the tip of her tail in the water, laying eggs on waterweeds or floating debris in shallow water.

Sometimes prime egg-laying sites can be in short supply. Here five pairs of damselflies are egg-laying at the same location, using a floating dead reed as a landing platform.

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