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Birds do it, bees do it…

November 15, 2012

Blue Spotted Hawker dragonfly

Even dragonflies and damselflies do it. At the moment the air-space above our dam is more crowded than over Heathrow. The air is alive with dragonflies and damselflies and mating is the name of the game.

Highly territorial, the males can be seen patrolling their part of the dam driving off intruding males and courting females at the same time. During mating the male grasps the female behind the neck using appendages on the end of his abdomen. The female in turn curls her abdomen under the male to receive the sperm, which fertilises the eggs. The eggs are then laid on submerged plants. Sometimes this is done while the male and female are still in tandem. The hatched nymphs remain underwater where they moult many times before crawling out on a reed and emerging as adults.

Pictured (above) is a female Blue-spotted Hawker (Aeshna brevistyla) dragonfly laying eggs on a submerged plant. Similarly (pictured below) are a blue male and a grey female Wandering Ringtail (Austrolestes leda) damselfly laying eggs ‘in tandem’.

It’s all so dam interesting.

(Species names are advisory only!)

Wandering Ringtail damselflies

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