Tag Archives: Odonata

Sympetrum striolatum, The Common Darter.

No, I haven’t just seen a Common Darter.

I have been at it again. Identifying animals on other peoples blogs and so…

This is how I know that it is a Common Darter.

Here is a beautiful Common Darter.

Common DarterA fairly small to medium sized Dragonfly they are easy to confuse with Ruddy Darters.

This next picture is a Ruddy Darter. Notice that it has black legs.

Ruddy DarterThe Common Darter has a pale yellow stripe on the outside of it’s black legs. Like this πŸ™‚

Common Darter

Common DarterColour isn’t a very good indicator of species. The Ruddy Darter is, as you would expect, quite red but a male Common Darter is also red and this next Common Darter is ruddier than the Ruddy Darter above but it does have a yellow stripe on the outside of it’s leg and I know what it is.

Common DarterThe Common Darter is an ambush predator. Unlike the Hawkers that patrol the skies Darters find a nice perch and wait for something to fly past.

They are quite an easy animal to approach for a photograph. (as animals go) They look a bit brownish and dull as they cruise around you but if you can get up close they are absolutely beautiful.

Common Darter

 

Migrant Hawker, Aeshna mixta

I haven’t just seen a Migrant Hawker. Well, I have sort of..

I just identified a Migrant Hawker on somebodies blog and I thought that I better do a Migrant Hawker post in case he comes round to check me out. (hi Stephen) Fodrambler does not lie πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

Migrant HawkerThe easiest identifying feature is the “Golf Tee” mark on the second segment of the abdomen. and that is diagnostic.

Migrant HawkerIt has a brown costa (the leading edge of the wing) and almost non existent antehumeral stripes.

Migrant HawkerThis next picture is not a Migrant Hawker this is a Southern Hawker. I am just using it to explain “antehumeral stripes” The Southern Hawker has very bold antehumerals (the two yellow stripes just behind it’s head.

Southern HawkerBack to the migrant Hawker and here is a quick tour.

Migrant Hawker

Migrant Hawker

Migrant HawkerSo that is my quick guide to identifying a Migrant Hawker.

Top.

Migrant HawkerMiddle…

Migrant Hawkerand this is the end of it.

Migrant HawkerExcept for a couple of my very own drawings explaining Dragonfly anatomy for reference purposes only.

Dragonfly anatomy 1Dragonfly anatomy 2

 

Irrational Fear (Odonata)

Odonata? Dragonflies and Damselflies.

They are nice.

2If you don’t know them then a big flying insect like this might seem quite alarming but these animals don’t bite people and they don’t have a sting.

(and the one above is a female Common Blue Damselfly, here is the male)

3The Odonata are among our most beautiful insects and the best thing to do if you see one is to take it’s photograph and treasure it.

(This one is a Common Darter Dragonfly)4Dragonflies (and Damselflies for that matter) are finely tuned killing machines. They are predators, meat eaters and hunters but they don’t hunt us, mostly they hunt our enemies, midges and mosquitoes and all the little things that do bite and sting us.

(Black-tailed Skimmer Dragonfly)5

Dragonflies are masters of the air. They are the fastest flying insects in the world. All four wings can move independently and they can stand still in the air by flying forwards with two of them and backwards with the other two, they can also fly backwards. A dragonfly can do anything that it wants to do in the air and they never get tangled in your hair.

6Plus they eat Mosquitoes.

7Now I am fairly tolerant of Mosquitoes. I know that it is only the females that drink our blood (the males drink nectar from flowers) and that they only take blood because they need the protein to make their eggs. But I am Nature Boy and I know these things and love life, I don’t expect everyone to hold my views.

In fact the Mosquito is far and away the most dangerous animal in the world. Mosquitoes kill more people than all of the Tigers and Crocodiles and Great White Sharks and all of the other animals that you might think of as dangerous put together.

I just can’t bring myself to eat them. Thank heavens for the Odonata.

(Southern Hawker Dragonfly)8

9So if you are lucky enough to find yourself sitting in a sunny beer garden with your family when an enormous, colourful and dangerous looking insect flies by, don’t be alarmed, it’s on our side.

(Hairy Dragonfly)

10You have just seen something very beautiful.

Bright Sparkly Things

The first damselfly to appear in the spring is the Large Red Damselfly.

1Regarding identification, we only have two species of red damselfly and the Small Red Damselfly is rare, only found in the south of England and has red legs, so this is a Large.

2Damselflies rest with their wings closed whereas dragonflies rest with their wings open and damselflies tend to be smaller. Also damselflies avoid people, a dragonfly will often hover in front of you having a look Β at you but I have never known a damsel to do that. You have to sneak up on damselflies.

3

I think that they are wonderfully intricate and beautiful. Like nature’s jewellery but a pin made of precious metals and jewels could never compare to the real thing.

4Flight time for the Large Red is from April until the end of August so there is plenty of time to see them.