damselflies, dragonflies

 

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Damselflies, dragonflies

We have already more than ten years a pond in the garden. We have for years no fish in it. So a pump is not necessary. On a distance of 500 meters there is no water except some ponds. Damselflies and dragonflies have to come from far.

Damselflies

Damselflies you can classify  in several families. Family Platycnemididae. (A small family) the family Coenagrionidae (a large family with species like blue-tailed damselfly, Large Red Damselfly and Azure Damselfly) Family Lestidae, commonly known as "Spreadwings." (a small family with species like the Willow Emerald Damselfly) Family Calopterygidae. (a large family, especially in the tropics. In the Netherlands you have the Banded Demoiselle and the Beautiful Demoiselle.The males have coloured wings). Both damselflies and dragonflies catch their prey with the forelegs (all kinds of insects). They can’t walk. 

In May many
 species lay the eggs in a tandem. Males stand right over their females. It can be dangerous. Once we saw a female disappearing under water. When we looked better, we saw, a larva of a dragonfly (nymph) was the predator.
Mating:
This position, in which the bodies of the male and female damselflies form a circle, is called “the wheel position.”

Coenagrionidae.

On Waarneming all Coenagrionidae in the Netherlands .

 

Vuurjuffer (Pyrrhosoma nymphula). Familie waterjuffers (Coenagrionidae)... Vuurjuffer (Pyrrhosoma nymphula). Familie waterjuffers (Coenagrionidae).. Vuurjuffer (Pyrrhosoma nymphula). Familie waterjuffers (Coenagrionidae).. Vuurjuffer (Pyrrhosoma nymphula). Familie waterjuffers (Coenagrionidae).  Large red damselfly (Pyrrhosoma nymphula) Family Coenagrionidae.

The large red damselfly is very early.
Red abdomen. The males have black spots on the last segment. Along the abdomen yellow shoulder stripe, which later changes in colour to red. Black legs. To complicate there are several colour forms: fulvipes, typica, melanotum.
Flying time: April to July. Length 33 to 36 mm. Europe. Photos 20-6-2012, 29-6-2012.

vuurjuffers-2b.jpg (73808 bytes)   Mating takes place in marginal vegetation and the pair lays their eggs in tandem on submerged vegetation.
The nymphs are staying 2 to 3 years in the pond.
 
German: Frühe Adonislibelle, Frühe Adonisjungfer  French: Petite nymphe au corps de feu.
        

Large red damselfly (Pyrrhosoma nymphula) Family Coenagrionidae. Larva.  Large red damselfly (Pyrrhosoma nymphula) Family Coenagrionidae. Larva.
Ewoud van der Ploeg (translated): The squarish head and the dark spot in the lamellae, together with the rather squat body, point to a large red damselfly. Photo 4-5-2018.   
        
Azure Damselfly (Coenagrion puella). Family Coenagrionidae... Azure Damselfly (Coenagrion puella). Family Coenagrionidae.. Azure Damselfly (Coenagrion puella). Family Coenagrionidae., Azure Damselfly (Coenagrion puella). Family Coenagrionidae.  Azure Damselfly (Coenagrion puella). Family Coenagrionidae.

Males are blue with black at the end of the segments. In segment 2 usually black U-shaped drawing. The females are usually green to blue with a dark back of the abdomen. 
Flying time: May - August. Length 33 - 35 mm. Europe. 
The eggs are deposited in the vegetation.
The nymphs are staying for a year in the pond. German: Hufeisen-Azurjungfer  French: Agrion jouvencelle.
         

Blue-tailed Damselfly (Ischnura elegans).. Blue-tailed Damselfly (Ischnura elegans). Blue-tailed Damselfly (Ischnura elegans)   Blue-tailed Damselfly (Ischnura elegans). Family Coenagrionidae. In May 2008 for the first time in the garden.

Segment eight is entirely pale blue. are very variable in colouration.
They tolerate also unclear water. The pair separate before the female goes off to lay her eggs in surface vegetation. The female lives only 11 days.
The nymphs stay one year in the pond. Sometimes they emerge as adults after three months. Than there is a second generation in one year.
Flying time: May - September.  Common and widespread throughout Europe. Not in Spain.

 Young adult Blue-tailed damselfly form rufescens  Young adult Blue-tailed damselfly form rufescens. German: Große Pechlibelle  French: Agrion élégant.
         

Common Blue Damselfly (Enallagma cyathigerum). Family Coenagrionidae. Female.  Common Blue Damselfly (Enallagma cyathigerum). Family Coenagrionidae. Female. Not in the garden but in the dunes about 4 km from our house. 

The
Flying time: May - September. 
Common in the Netherlands, especially in nutrient usually stagnant water, such as in this small dune lake.
Europe. Photo 30-6-2013.
           

 

Spreadwings (Lestidae).

On Waarneming all Spreadwings (Lestidae) in the Nederlands .

Willow Emerald Damselfly (Lestes viridis or Chalcolestes viridis). Family spreadwings (Lestidae)... Willow Emerald Damselfly (Lestes viridis or Chalcolestes viridis). Family spreadwings (Lestidae).. Willow Emerald Damselfly (Lestes viridis or Chalcolestes viridis). Family spreadwings (Lestidae).  Willow Emerald Damselfly (Lestes viridis or Chalcolestes viridis). Family spreadwings (Lestidae).

It is a common widespread damselfly. Male and female
are mainly metallic green and lager than the other damselflies. The eyes are brown.
The willow emerald damselflies lay their eggs into incisions in the bark of overhanging branches. The eggs hibernate and hatch next spring. The larva has no legs when it falls in the water. Then it changes in a real nymph. After three months appears the new damselfly.
In rest they hold their wings half open.
Most damselflies rest with their wings folded together.
.
Flying time: July - November.
Photos 13-8-2012, 16-8-2012.  German: Weidenjungfer  French: Leste vert.
           
Emerald Damselfly, Common Spreadwing (Lestes sponsa). Male. Family spreadwings (Lestidae)... Emerald Damselfly, Common Spreadwing (Lestes sponsa). Male. Family spreadwings (Lestidae).  Emerald Damselfly, Common Spreadwing (Lestes sponsa).  Not in the garden but in the dunes about 4 km from our house. 

Like the Willow Emerald Damselfly it is metallic green or copper colored. The male has a powder blue abdomen point like in these pictures.
It overwinters as an egg. The eggs are laid in in submerged vegetation.
Other similar Damselflies are the Willow Emerald Damselfly, the Scarce Emerald Damselfly, the Small Emerald Damselfly and the  Migrant Spreadwing or Southern Emerald Damselfly. 
.
Flying time: May - October. Europe, Asia. Photos 19-8-2013.  
German: Gemeine Binsenjungfer.  French: le Leste fiancé.
           
Common Winter Damselfly (Sympecma fusca). Family spreadwings (Lestidae)... Common Winter Damselfly (Sympecma fusca). Family spreadwings (Lestidae).. Common Winter Damselfly (Sympecma fusca). Family spreadwings (Lestidae).  Common Winter Damselfly (Sympecma fusca). Family spreadwings (Lestidae).

This is also a damselfly. In September 2008 for the first time in the garden. The Winter Damsel is the only damselfly, which overwinters as an adult. That's why it flies early in spring.
Length: 3cm. Light brown with dark brown to bronze coloured spots on the top.
In rest  they hold their wings not half open like other damselflies, but they fold them together along one side of their abdomen
Two flying times: April - May and August - September.
The only other Winter Damsel in the Netherlands is the rare Siberian Winter damselfly (Sympecma paedisca).
Biotope: Shallow, nutrient-poor ponds in wooded area with sandy soil.
German: Gemeine Winterlibelle  French: Brunette hivernalePhotos 16-8-2012, 17-8-2012.  
       


Dragonflies

  Dragonflies are stronger than damselflies. The large eyes touch each other above the head. All of them have two pairs of membranous wings. Their wings are more or less similar. The hind wings are a little  broader than the fore wings. The wings are held horizontally at rest. Most dragonflies are good aviators, better  than the damselflies. Like the damselflies they cannot walk.  
There are several families.

Family Gomphidae. Family Cordulegastridae. Family Aeshnidae with species like Emperor Dragonfly and Southern Hawker, Blue Hawker. Family Corduliidae. Family Libellulidae with species like the Black-tailed Skimmer and the Common Darter.           


Hawkers, darners (Aeshnidae)

On Waarneming all Hawkers (Aeshnidae) in the Nederlands .

Southern Hawker, Blue Hawker (Aeshna cyanea).. Southern Hawker, Blue Hawker (Aeshna cyanea). Southern Hawker, Blue Hawker (Aeshna cyanea). Southern Hawker, Blue Hawker (Aeshna cyanea). male  Southern Hawker, Blue Hawker (Aeshna cyanea). Family Hawkers, darners (Aeshnidae).

The left photo has been taken mid- June at 8 o'clock  at night. We had almost overlooked him, because a minute later it flew away. Some days later my woman has taken photos of an other metamorphose. When I came home, it was almost finished.

blauwe-glazenmaker-30.jpg (111894 bytes)
Click here if you want to see the metamorphose. 

The Southern Hawker, Blue Hawker is a common species, except in clay areas. Length 70 mm. Wings 100 mm. 
The female  has green markings on the black bodies, and the male also has blue spots on the abdomen. At young dragonflies the colours are less clear.
Eggs are laid around the edge of the pond, amongst pond-side vegetation, in dead wood. The female lays the eggs without the female.
Adults are often found hunting a long way from water, usually alongside trees and bushes.
The nymphs
emerge as adults in July and August after two years.  

Southern Hawker, Blue Hawker (Aeshna cyanea). Nymph Family Hawkers, darners (Aeshnidae) Southern Hawker, Blue Hawker (Aeshna cyanea). Nymph Family Hawkers, darners (Aeshnidae) Nymph  28-7-'11 German: Blaugrüne Mosaikjungfer  French: Æschne bleue.
            

Norfolk Hawker (Aeshna isosceles, Aeshna isosceles). Family Hawkers, darners (Aeshnidae)... Norfolk Hawker (Aeshna isosceles, Aeshna isosceles). Family Hawkers, darners (Aeshnidae).. Norfolk Hawker (Aeshna isosceles, Aeshna isosceles). Family Hawkers, darners (Aeshnidae).  Norfolk Hawker (Aeshna isosceles, Family Hawkers, darners (Aeshnidae).

Phhoto 3-6-2007. Females lay their eggs alone favouring the leaves and flowers stalks of Water soldier (also on this photo) The larvae probably take 2 years to develop. It requires clean water.
They are found in
peat bog area, but also in the dunes. (in our neighbourhood)
It has a yellow triangular mark on the second abdominal segment and it has green eyes. The male and female are similar.
Flying time: May to August. It is not a very common species in the Netherlands.
 
Photo 31-5-2014, 29-6-2015. Not until seven years later I saw another Norfolk Hawker in the garden. German: Keilfleck-Mosaikjungfer, Keilflecklibelle.   
            

Migrant Hawker (Aeshna mixta). Family Hawkers, darners (Aeshnidae)... Migrant Hawker (Aeshna mixta). Family Hawkers, darners (Aeshnidae).. Migrant Hawker (Aeshna mixta). Family Hawkers, darners (Aeshnidae).. Migrant Hawker (Aeshna mixta). Family Hawkers, darners (Aeshnidae).  Migrant Hawker (Aeshna mixta). Family Hawkers, darners (Aeshnidae).

It often hunts for flies on animals such as horses. It seems therefore that it bites these animals. Hence the Dutch name "Paardenbijter" "Horse biter". It is smaller than the other Hawkers.
The eggs are deposited in living and dead plants
Europe, North Africa, Asia. Length 56 -64 mm. July - November. Photos 31-7-2010, 3-8-2012, 12-9-2012. 2012: Both on the same place.
German: Herbst-Mosaikjungfer  French: L'æschne mixte.  
              

Emperor Dragonfly, Blue Emperor (Anax imperator). Family Hawkers, darners (Aeshnidae)... Emperor Dragonfly, Blue Emperor (Anax imperator). Family Hawkers, darners (Aeshnidae).. Emperor Dragonfly, Blue Emperor (Anax imperator). Family Hawkers, darners (Aeshnidae).. Emperor Dragonfly, Blue Emperor (Anax imperator). Male. Family Hawkers, darners (Aeshnidae).  Emperor Dragonfly, Blue Emperor (Anax imperator). Family Hawkers, darners (Aeshnidae). Not in the garden but in the dunes about 3 km from our house. 

The males have a blue abdomen with a diagnostic black dorsal stripe, a green thorax and blue eyes. The abdomen of the females is green or blue, the thorax is green with two small blue spots and the eyes are green. 
In stagnant water. The females only put the eggs on floating plants. The larvae overwinter one or two years. 
May - October but most in June-August. 
Europe, West Asia, Africa.
Photo 20-7-2012, 18-6-2013, 6-6-2014, 31-7-2014.   German: Große Königslibelle. French: L'Anax empereur. 
  
           
Hairy Dragonfly, Hairy Hawker (Brachytron pratense).. Hairy Dragonfly, Hairy Hawker (Brachytron pratense)   Hairy Dragonfly, Hairy Hawker (Brachytron pratense). Family Hawkers, darners (Aeshnidae).

The males are mainly black with blue. The female black with yellow. On the side of the thorax are green or yellow bands.
The abdomen and thorax are downy hairs. Hence its name. Segment three is not constricted. Segment one has in the middle a round spot.
April - Late June. The larvae overwinter two to three times.
Length 5,5 - 6,3 cm. Wingspan 7 - 8 mm.
Photos 3-5-2011  German: Frühe Schilfjäger.            


Libellulidae.

On Waarneming all Libellulidae in the Nederlands .

Broad-bodied Chaser (Libellula depressa) female Family Libellulidae .. Broad-bodied Chaser (Libellula depressa) female Family Libellulidae . Broad-bodied Chaser (Libellula depressa) female Family Libellulidae . Broad-bodied Chaser (Libellula depressa) female Family Libellulidae   Broad-bodied Chaser (Libellula depressa) Family Libellulidae 

The Broad-bodied Chaser you often see near small waters. In 2011 for the first time near the pond in my garden.
One characteristic is the
broad, abdomen. The patches at the base on the wings are striking. Males are often blue,  females are brownish. Older females have also blue on the abdomen. The sides of the abdomen are bright yellow.
The larvae creep after two years from the plants along the shore. They overwinter in the mud to crawl away. They can be dried, but also survive in frozen mud.
Length: 38 to 48 mm.   April to September. Europe, Middle East, Siberia.

Photo 23-5-2011   Broad-bodied Chaser (Libellula depressa) young female Family Libellulidae  A younger Broad-bodied chaser female. Photo 8-6-2011. German: Plattbauch  French: libellule déprimée.             
Four-spotted Chaser (Libellula quadrimaculata).. Four-spotted Chaser (Libellula quadrimaculata). Family Libellulidae. . Four-spotted Chaser (Libellula quadrimaculata). Family Libellulidae.   Four-spotted Chaser (Libellula quadrimaculata). Family Libellulidae. 

The lens of my camera is in repair. Now I shoot with my old camera. Which does not like the low sun. Hence the glare. But this is the first time I see the four-spotted chaser in the garden. 
It has a distinct black spot in the top center of the wing. At the rear wing you'll see a dark spot. Above this spot a brownish orange spot. (also on the upperwings) It has an orange body with a black tip. The yellow spots on the side are unfortunately not to see because of the glare.
Larvae overwinter one to three times. The metamorphosis is from end April to mid July.
End April - begin September. Length 40 - 48 mm. Europe, North-America.
Photo 2-5-2011. Photos 5-6-2013 Two photos taken in the dunes.
German: Vierfleck  French: libellule à quatre taches. 
  

Black-tailed Skimmer (Orthetrum cancellatum). Family Libellulidae... Black-tailed Skimmer (Orthetrum cancellatum). Family Libellulidae.. Black-tailed Skimmer (Orthetrum cancellatum). Family Libellulidae.  Black-tailed Skimmer (Orthetrum cancellatum). Family Libellulidae.
 
The females are yellowish brown. When they get older, they become browner. The abdomen is arrow-shaped with two thick black lines in length. The males are blue. The young males are like females yellowish brown.
Length 44 to 50 mm. Flight time: May to September.
When the female lays the eggs in the water, the male is in the neighborhood.
The larvae overwinter two or three times. Hatching: May to August.
Photos 7-6-2013, 19-6-2012, 20-6-2011.

Black-tailed Skimmer (Orthetrum cancellatum). Male. Family Libellulidae. Black-tailed Skimmer (Orthetrum cancellatum). Male. Family Libellulidae. Male 29-6-2016.  German: Große Blaupfeil.  French: Orthétrum réticulé, Orthetrum bleuissant.   
            

Black Darter, Black Meadowhawk (Sympetrum danae). Family Libellulidae. .. Black Darter, Black Meadowhawk (Sympetrum danae). Family Libellulidae. . Black Darter, Black Meadowhawk (Sympetrum danae). Family Libellulidae.   Black Darter, Black Meadowhawk (Sympetrum danae). Family Libellulidae. Not in the garden but in the dunes about 4 km from our house. 

The legs are black. The side of the thorax and the lower part of the abdomen is strongly marked  in black. 
Males are becoming blacker when they get older. Young males and females are more yellow.
Length 29 to 34 mm.
From May to October.
The eggs are deposited in tandem. At the end often by the female alone. Black Darter overwinters as an egg. In the spring, the eggs hatch in May and the dragonflies appear in May - July.
 
Northern Europe, Asia, and North America. Photos 11-9-2012. German: Schwarze Heidelibelle. French: Sympetrum danae, Sympétrum noir.  
         

Ruddy Darter (Sympetrum sanguineum). Family Libellulidae. .. Ruddy Darter (Sympetrum sanguineum). Family Libellulidae.   Ruddy Darter (Sympetrum sanguineum). Family Libellulidae. Not in the garden but in the dunes about 4 km from our house. 

The males are blood-red. The females yellow.De mannetjes zijn dieprood van kleur. A difference with the other darters is the all-black legs of the Ruddy Darter.
The larva live  in the water for a year.
Length 34 - 36 mm.  Erope. Not in the south of Spain, Italy. In parts of Africa. July -  October.
Photos 26-6-2012. German: Blutrote Heidelibelle. French: Sympétrum rouge sang. 
          

Common Darter (Sympetrum striolatum). Family Libellulidae... Common Darter (Sympetrum striolatum). Family Libellulidae. 

Common Darter (Sympetrum striolatum). Family Libellulidae.  Common Darter (Sympetrum striolatum). Family Libellulidae.  Common Darter (Sympetrum striolatum). Family Libellulidae.  

Common Darter (Sympetrum striolatum). Family Libellulidae.

The legs are black with yellow stripes along their length. A black line between the eyes, but not along the eye rims. So no " black mustache" like the Vagrant Darter. There may be a little black, which in combination with shadow can make it difficult to see the difference between the two species.
Young males and females have a yellow abdomen. Older males have a red abdomen. The older females will be brown.
Length 35 to 44 mm. May to November.
The eggs are deposited in tandem. The Common Darter overwinters as an egg. In the spring, the eggs hatch and the dragonflies appear in May - September.
Europe, North Africa, Klein and West Asia.
Photos 3-8-2012, 10-9-2012. German: Große Heidelibelle.  French: Sympétrum strié.

Common Darter (Sympetrum striolatum). Family Libellulidae.  No black mustache.  

More information on the site
(It's a Dutch site. But the photos explain much, I think)http://www.at-a-lanta.nl/weia/LibellenStriVulg.html
          

Vagrant Darter (Sympetrum vulgatum). Family Libellulidae. .. Vagrant Darter (Sympetrum vulgatum). Family Libellulidae.  

Vagrant Darter (Sympetrum vulgatum). Family Libellulidae.   Vagrant Darter (Sympetrum vulgatum). Family Libellulidae.   Vagrant Darter (Sympetrum vulgatum). Family Libellulidae.   

Vagrant Darter (Sympetrum vulgatum). Family Libellulidae. 

The legs are black with yellow stripes along their length. A black line between the eyes and along the eye rims. It looks like  "a black mustache" . The Common Darter don't have a mustache.
Young males and females have a yellow abdomen. Older males have a red abdomen. The older females will be brown.
Length 35 - 40 mm.
June - November.
The eggs are deposited in tandem. The Common Darter overwinters as an egg. In the spring, the eggs hatch and the dragonflies appear in June - September.
Photos 3-8-2012.
German: Gemeine Heidelibelle.  French: Sympétrum commun.

 

Vagrant Darter (Sympetrum vulgatum). Family Libellulidae.   A black mustache.                

 

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