Hunting Ground


Large Red Damselfly (Pyrrhosoma nymphula) – I saw two of these around the garden pond today … and they were on the hunt. Although not power fliers like the larger dragonflies, they were quick and nimble, and I watched one of them snatch a fly out of mid-air. I was quite amazed how they soon got used to my presence and allowed me to get fairly close up to them with my macro lens. Double-click on images to enlarge.


Large Red Damselfly Pyrrhosoma nymphula

Large Red Damselfly Pyrrhosoma nymphula

Large Red Damselfly Pyrrhosoma nymphula

Large Red Damselfly Pyrrhosoma nymphula

© Peter Hillman ♦ 26th April 2020 ♦ Rear garden, South Staffordshire ♦ Nikon D7200


Large Red Damselfly


Pyrrhosoma nymphula – I saw three of these around the garden pond fluttering lazily in the sunshine before settling down again. I know they breed in the pond, as I have seen their larvae under the water.


Large Red Damselfly Pyrrhosoma nymphula

© Peter Hillman ♦ 25th April 2020 ♦ Rear garden, South Staffordshire ♦ Nikon D7200


An Evening Visitor

Large Red Damselfly Pyrrhosoma nymphula

Large Red Damselfly Pyrrhosoma nymphula

Click once to expand view, click again to get that little bit closer


Large Red Damselfly Pyrrhosoma nymphula, this evening May 2018, rear garden, Staffordshire, England. © Pete Hillman Sigma 18-300mm.

The Large Red Damselflies Are Here

Large Red Damselfly Pyrrhosoma nymphula

These are the first of the Large Red Damselfly Pyrrhosoma nymphula I have seen around my garden pond this season.

Large Red Damselfly Pyrrhosoma nymphula

Large Red Damselfly Pyrrhosoma nymphula

Large Red Damselfly Pyrrhosoma nymphula


Double click on images to enlarge.


May 2018, rear garden pond Staffordshire, England. © Pete Hillman

Hunting With The Damselflies

Large Red Damselfly Pyrrhosoma nymphula

I have been watching these beautiful damselflies for quite  sometime as they flitter about my garden pond. The are on the hunt. They will find a favourite perch and then when a small fly comes into their airspace they make a go of catching it. They are not always succesful, but this one was. I think it may have caught a plant louse of some kind, and it didn’t waste any of it.

Large Red Damselfly Pyrrhosoma nymphula

Quite messy eaters though. You got a bit stuck there … yes just there … above your top lip …


Please click on an image for a larger more detailed view. Clicking a second time may get you a little closer.


Rear garden, Staffordshire, England. July 2017.

Making Hearts

Large Red Damselfly Pyrrhosoma nymphula mating

There is still a lot of activity around the garden pond, as can be seen in the above image.


Large Red Damselfly (Pyrrhosoma nymphula) mating, rear garden pond, Staffordshire, England. June 2017.

Gone Full Cycle

Large Red Damselfly Pyrrhosoma nymphula mating

From the female I observed last June laying eggs in my garden pond, to the hatched larvae which lived beneath the still water, to their emergence in spring as adults, and now they have gone a full cycle. Here we have a mating pair of  the Large Red Damselfly (Pyrrhosoma nymphula), ensuring the perpetuation of the species.

Large Red Damselfly Pyrrhosoma nymphula mating

Large Red Damselfly Pyrrhosoma nymphula mating

 


Garden pond, Staffordshire, England. June 2017.

Over Still Waters

Large Red Damselfly Pyrrhosoma nymphula

After emerging from my garden pond the damselflies appeared to have gone off to greener pastures. But they appear to be returning back home, and here is one waiting for small flies to come by to snap out of the air to eat as food, resting on an iris leaf stretched across still waters.


Large Red Damselfly (Pyrrhosoma nymphula), rear garden pond, Staffordshire, England. June 2017.

Just Emerged

Large Red Damselfly Pyrrhosoma nymphula newly emerged

Out in the garden this morning, and as always I go to see what’s happening around the pond. I switch on my pump, which has no filter and is open, and helps oxygenate the pond, although I think the oxygenating plants are doing a good job, but the sound and movement of water is always relaxing. And what do I notice? A freshly emerged Large Red Damselfly (Pyrrhosoma nymphula). drying out in the early morning sun. It’s larval skin which can be seen on the other side of the tube in partial shade, discarded like an old suit. It was lucky it hadn’t gone up in a jet of water when I initially switched the pump on!

Large Red Damselfly Pyrrhosoma nymphula newly emerged

It must be the main season for emergence as I discovered lots of these freshly emerged damselflies clinging to pond plants with their old larval skins nearby.

Large Red Damselfly Pyrrhosoma nymphula newly emerged

Below, here is one that was made earlier, and is still reluctant to fly until it gets used to its new life out of the water and living in the air.

Large Red Damselfly Pyrrhosoma nymphula teneral

Please click on the images for a larger, more detailed view.


Edit: Walter, who runs an excellent blog with some astoundingly detailed photographs of dragonflies has observed that this is a female, as indicated by the prominent ovipositor visible on the ventral side of the tip of her abdomen. You can visit his blog via Walter Sandford’s Photoblog.


Large Red Damselfly (Pyrrhosoma nymphula) newly emerged, rear garden pond, Staffordshire, England. May 2017.

 

Before Emergence

Large Red Damselfly Pyrrhosoma nymphula final moult

Today has been another exceptionally hot May day, and this afternoon I noticed quite a few recently emerged Large Red Damselfly (Pyrrhosoma nymphula) on plants around my garden pond. And I was delighted to find one which had left it’s larval skin behind.

Large Red Damselfly Pyrrhosoma nymphula final moult

Dragonflies and damselflies don’t go through a pupation stage similar to other insects like butterflies and moths. Final-stage larvae may sit for several days in shallow water getting ready for their final moult, breathing air. The larvae climb up vegetation near the water’s edge and secure a perch for emergence. In the above images one individual has done just this, and climbed  a fair distance to find a good spot for the final transformation. Amazingly, in this state they redistribute their body fluids and push out first their thorax, head, legs and wings. These are allowed to harden before the abdomen is finally withdrawn, which in turn needs time to harden. Transformation is complete, and an adult is born.

Large Red Damselfly Pyrrhosoma nymphula teneral

In the images directly above and below, things may have not gone quite to plan for this newly emerged damselfly. Note how the exuvia (the cast skin), is still attached. The wings have not fully retracted and are trapped within. It may eventually free itself, but until then it will not be able to fly and is at the mercy of predation.

Large Red Damselfly Pyrrhosoma nymphula teneral

In a future post I will combine some of the images to show the life cycle which has, to my great surprise, taken 11 months from egg to adult.


Rear garden pond, Staffordshire, England. May 2017.

Emergence II

Large Red Damselfly Pyrrhosoma nymphula teneral

The teneral damselflies are still coming and appearing around the pond. This one could hardly fly at all.  It was clinging to a stem of my Water Mint. I like the way the light catches the wings and brings out the colour spectrum.

Large Red Damselfly Pyrrhosoma nymphula teneral

Please click on the images for larger, mored detailed views.


Large Red Damselfly (Pyrrhosoma nymphula) teneral, rear garden, Staffordshire, England. May 2017.

Say Cheese Please!

Large Red Damselfly Pyrrhosoma nymphula teneral


Large Red Damselfly (Pyrrhosoma nymphula) tenerals, rear garden, Staffordshire, England. May 2017.

Emergence

Large Red Damselfly Pyrrhosoma nymphula teneral

Out in the garden today, and with blue skies and wall to wall sunshine is was time take the first photos of May. I sat by my pond, and within a couple of minutes I noticed a small damselfly resting on my Yellow Iris growing in the pond. It was in an awkward position to photo, so I thought I might risk coaxing it with my finger into a new position. It actually gripped the end of my finger and allowed me to place it elsewhere. It was very small, and when it flew it flew weakly and didn’t fly very far.

Large Red Damselfly Pyrrhosoma nymphula teneral

Then as I took a few snaps of it, I noticed a few others on bushes and plants near the pond. They were all the same species, the Large Red Damselfly (Pyrrhosoma nymphula), and appeared to be tenerals, newly emerged. Most of them seemed quite happy to just hang around in the sun as can be seen from this series of images.

Large Red Damselfly Pyrrhosoma nymphula teneral

Knowing I had Large Red Damselfly nymphs in my garden pond I did wonder whether these had developed from here, but they had only been there for a year, which might just be long enough, I guess.

Large Red Damselfly Pyrrhosoma nymphula teneral

Please click on the images for larger, mored detailed views.


Large Red Damselfly (Pyrrhosoma nymphula) tenerals, rear garden, Staffordshire, England. May 2017.

How They Have Grown

Large Red Damselfly – Pyrrhosoma nymphula

Please click on the image for a larger view.

The light was not so good late yesterday afternoon, but I was determined to try and get a photograph of one of the many Large Red Damselfly (Pyrrhosoma nymphula) larvae which inhabit my garden pond in its natural setting. This one was on a stone in the shallows near the pond’s edge. I cannot believe how quickly they are growing since I first saw them last August.