Friday, 20 May 2011

Large Red-eyed Damselflies in Cheshire

May 19, 2011:
Large Red-eyed Damselflies (Erythromma najas) have now emerged here. At this small pool at the north-western limit for the species in Britain, several males could be seen out in the centre of the water where they rested on floating pondweed. As soon as the sun emerged there was frenzied activity as the males defended their territories from intruders. Occasionally also, an ovipositing pair would be ‘buzzed’. When egg-laying in tandem, the female was totally immersed under the surface but protected by an envelope of air around her body. Today all remained at long range and made photography difficult. These are quite fast-flying insects which keep low down close to the water surface but are easily picked out by their striking bright red eyes.

[Male; the female totally immersed when egg-laying]

[Territorial males resting on pondweed]

This same sheltered pool had several other species of Odonata, especially damselflies, and was a haven for other wildlife as well. A group of resting Mallard ducklings added to the idyllic scene.

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