Friday, 18 September 2015

Day 309 - Beautiful, Terrific & Sun-Loving Black-Tailed Skimmers

Black-Tailed Skimmer (Orthetrum cancellatum)
Hi everyone, its Day 309 and this is a species that I've seen in a lot of places that I go, certainly I saw it in Norfolk and I have seen it in Yorkshire. Dad loves these insects in general and this one always seems to pose nicely. I like trying to find different ones and they do live up to their names. I'm talking about Dragonflies! The darters do dart and the hawkers do hawk, so that gives me some help in identifying them. This one skims over water and its a Black Tailed Skimmer that I'm talking about today!

So what did I find out about these lovely creatures:

  • As I mentioned above they pose nicely, well the males like to rest in the sun on bare patches of shore next to water.
  • They are 40-49mm in length so not the biggest of dragonflies.
A pair mating on a path.
  • True to their name they fly swift and low, skimming the water surface. They also fly low over gravel and mud.
  • Hunting starts from perches and they wait for prey like butterflies, grasshoppers and damselflies. Once they see one they pounce on it.
  • The males are territorial and patrol a stretch of bank or shore of around 50m.
  • You will find these dragonflies between May and August.
  • They are most common in the South East of England, but are found in most of England and Wales, a bit more scare where I am in the North and hardly at all in Scotland.
Male watching me as I tried to get a close up
  • I was surprised to find out they were first recorded in the UK in 1939!
  • Another interesting thing I found is that they seem to like new made pools like flooded gravelpits and reservoirs.
Here's a few sites with more information:

Hope you enjoyed.


1 comment:

  1. Lovely find, their wings are stunning! Dragonfly's are probably my favourite type of insect, they're just stunning. - Tasha