Sunday, May 01, 2011

Large Red Damselfly

The unseasonal warm weather we have been enjoying this spring, has led to the early emergence of many Dragonflies and Damselflies. The Large Red Damselfly, pictured above, is invariably the first species to emerge, and in my garden was seen on the 21st April. This compares with other years as follows:
2005 - 27th May.
2006 - 17th June.
2007 - Not recorded.
2008 - Not recorded.
2009 - 29th April.
2010 - 15th May.
2011 - 21st April.
The photograph above is probably of an immature male as the stripes on the side of the thorax (known as antehumeral stripes) appear to be yellow and the anal appendages at the tip of the abdomen appear to have claspers for mating. Males emerge slightly earlier than females and mature in about 12 days compared to 16 days for females.

The colour of the eyes are often an important identification feature of Dragonflies and Damselflies, and the photograph above clearly shows that ours are Red. Also, the legs are Black, which also confirms that this is a Large Red rather than a Small Red Damselfly.

On the 1st May, I took this photograph, which shows a mating pair around my pond. There were 4 Large Red Damselflies present, which is a record for my garden, and to observe two of them mating was also a first.