Monday, 19 May 2008


Damselflies are the smaller-size version of Dragonflies, with the abdomen being about the same size as a matchstick. The male of the Large Red Damselfly is bright red, with the female being predominantly green, but with varying amounts of black.

Note that the rear of the female's abdomen has been bent during the hatching process. This is a problem I've seen a few times and it will probably prevent her from mating successfully unless she is able to adapt to her 'peculiarity'.

The Common Blue Damselfly is usually more flighty than the Large Red, but this one appears to have hatched only recently. Damselflies hatch out a uniform pink colour (they are described as 'teneral' in this condition) which can be seen on various parts of this specimen. The colour soon changes from pink to the adult's normal colouring.

This close-up shows:

  • The remainder of the teneral colouration, and
  • The spines on the fore-legs which help to grip onto prey that is usually caught in mid-flight.


Gill said...

I haven't seen any damsels yet this year - Yorkshire is having a late spring! I can't see much green on your "red" female - to me she is black with hints of red!

Those are incredible shots, especially the close-up of the legs - how far away were you? They never seem to settle for me.

Stuart said...

An SLR will take 'close-ups' from much further away than a compact. These shots were taken from about 30 cm. away or more. The teneral one let me get down to about 15cm., presumably because it had very recently hatched. Don't take that as a rule, though..I've seen totally pink specimens flying quite happily.