|Male Common Darter (Sympetrum striolatum)|
I've got a treat as it's a dragonfly, probably one of my favourite insects and certainly Dad's. The ones in the pictures here are Common Darters, at least I'm sure the female ones are as I had a bit of help from the British Dragonfly Society (thanks Pam :-) and my research leads me to think the males are too.
So here's a few things I found out about dragonflies and the common darter in particular:
- Common darters as the name tells you really are widespread in the UK.
- As you can see in the pictures males are red but turn a bit brown as they get older and the females have pale greens and browns on them.
- This dragonfly spends a lot of time perched on a spot and will suddenly, as its name suggests, dart off after its prey. Often it will come back to the same perch to eat their meal
|Female Common Darter|
- Adults eat just about anything they can catch and this is mainly flying insects.
- They tend to be about from the end of June until the end of Autumn, sometimes as late as November if it's warm enough.
- Dragonflies have 3 stages in their lifecycle - egg > larvae > adult.
- You can see a picture of dragonflies mating in my post on Southern Hawkers.
- The female deposits the eggs underwater sometimes attached to plants and sometimes just dropped into the water.
- In the larvae stage they can moult up to 15 times before being ready to make the transformation into an adult. This can take more than a year.
- When ready to become an adult the larvae climb out of the water up a reed or something similar and the adult bursts out of the skin and slowly emerges. You can see this in more detail on a fantastic page on the British Dragonfly Society website.
Hope you enjoyed,