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Friday, 13 July 2012

Dragonfly Day, Doorstepshire..12th July

Today I was on a mission. I had kept up my good run of seeing all the local species of Dragonfly, and getting some form of record shot but getting a picture of Emperor was work in progress.
I set off in Sunshine around 9.30 and headed for Hartlebury, where I had seen my first Emperor of the year a couple of weeks ago. It was good to see the Scarce Chasers in good numbers , but mainly males. I took the opportunity to photograph a few, whilst listening to both overhead Raven a local Green Woodpecker, and Buzzard call. As it warmed further, I flushed a couple of Emperors and a male glided up and down the pool, but never settled. As I watched and waited, I came across a pair of Scarce Chasers Copulating.
Scarce Chasers mating
If you are not familiar with how they mate, it all looks a bit confusing. The female is at the rear, with the end of the males tail (abdomen) on top of her head. She has her abdomen bent right around and under the males abdomen, so the tip of her abdomen is in contact with the underside of the males third abdominal segment. Her legs are clasped up and over the top of his abdomen, which gives breeding males the 'mating scars' on their powdery blue tails. Suggest you don't try that one at home !!

Anyway, after two hours of chasing the Emperor up and down the pond, I decided to move to another venue where I knew they were present, and hope for better luck.
Within a few minutes of arriving at the head quarters of Worcestershire Wildlife Trust, I had spotted 2 Males. At the adjacent pool, there were two females ovipositing ( egg laying ) Bingo ! The light was tricky, and only once did one come within a reasonable range, but I got what I wanted.
Emperor Ovipositing
By now it was 1.30, so I decided to celebrate with a bit of lunch and a pint over at my next site for the day, Grimley. Unfortunately the afternoon session was hard graft as the wind was picking up quite a bit. I wanted to get a shot of the plentiful Common Darters but conditions had other idea's. I did have one perch on my hand for a while though , which was nice. I noted again a single Red Veined Darter. Also of interest was a fence post plastered in exuviae, but on asking around it turned out to belong to a Mayfly , rather than Damselfly. I was also on the lookout for the violacea variant of Blue-tailed Damselfly, but only found the rufescens form. Still nice though

Mayfly exuviae

Blue-tailed damselfy rufescens


  1. Lovely shots :) Great to see the Scarce Chasers. It always baffles me how dragons and damsels evolved such a circuitous way to mate. Never seen mayfly exuviae before, I can see the resemblance to a damselfly's, though the tails are longer.

  2. Nice shot of the Scarce Chasers in cop Mark...I bet you were pleased to see them at it!

  3. Thanks Marianne. Perhaps as the position allows flight for the coupled pair to take place ( which these were doing occaisionally) it reduces both interruption and predation..?

    Jase, hopefully total proof of breeding success next year, we have mating scar pics, and now 'in cop' pics...some tenerals or even exuviea next year would be nice to complete the picture.