A Guide to the Flora and Fauna of Durham University
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.
This is not an official Durham University blog and Durham University bears no responsibility for material which appears on this site. All inquiries concerning content should be directed to one of the blog authors whose contact details can be found below.
The purpose of this website
To mark the United Nations International Year of Biodiversity 2010, Durham University launched a survey by staff and students of the flora and fauna of its own estate, with the aim of ensuring that the variety of plants, animals, fungi and other living organisms found here will be conserved for the enjoyment of future generations who study at the university. This site will grow into a guide to the flora and fauna of the university that will help anyone wishing to identify plants, animals and fungi that they find on the university estate.
How to use this site
Below you will find a list of tags that link to articles posted on the site. Although the articles have not been posted in any particular order, if you click on any of the tags – for example butterflies, trees or wild flowers - the site will display all articles and photographs that have been posted on that theme.
If you would like to see a larger version of any of the pictures, click on the image.
Please note that all of the text and images on this site are protected by copyright and may not be reproduced elsewhere in any form without the written permission of their authors.
Can’t identify what you’ve found? One of these sites might help.....
If you are a member of Durham University (i.e. with a DU e-mail address) who is interested in the natural history of the university estate, and who would like to contribute to this survey, please contact one of the following: