Monday, August 26, 2013

Damselflies - Reds, Spreadwings & Demoiselles

The last post covered blue damselflies, so this one will cover the rest, demoiselles, spreadwings & reds.

Large red damselfly (Pyrrhosoma nymphula) 
This is Ireland’s only species of red damselfly which makes it rather easy to identify. There are of course darter dragonflies which are also red but these are much larger and bulkier. The large red is generally the first damselfly to emerge in any significant numbers at the start of the year. Later on in the season they do tend to become rather annoying with their tendency to chase off blue damselflies while I am trying to photograph them!

Emerald damselfly (Lestes sponsa) 
This species belongs to a separate family generally known either as emeralds, Lestes damselflies or spreadwings because of their tendency to sit with wings spread out unlike other damsels. I think this is my favourite damselfly because it is both stunning and usually willing to sit still whilst being photographed. There is a second species of Lestes called the scarce emerald damselfly but it does not occur in county Cork. With luck I will see it next year.

Banded demoiselle (Calopteryx splendens) 
The demoiselles belong to a different family again. They are larger then other damselflies and live in riverine habitats. This is because their larvae are adapted to survive in moving water unlike nearly all other Irish odonates. The male banded demoiselle can be told apart from its sister species the beautiful demoiselle by having a large black band running across the wing with the rest of the wing being clear. Females of the two species are quite similar.

Beautiful demoiselle (Calopteryx virgo) 
This demoiselle more then lives up to its name. The males have rust red wings that mature into a stunning black colour that shines blue in light conditions. Seeing a stretch of river being guarded by multiple males which territorially chase each other is a fantastic sight.

The list 
Large red damselfly (seen)
Emerald damselfly (seen)
Scarce emerald damselfly
Banded demoiselle (seen)
Beautiful demoiselle (seen)

1 comment:

  1. I have been following Cork City Wildlife on Facebook, I never thought you had this site of beautiful macro shots of lovely little creatures, a sheer delight. I would love to know settings on camera etc. to capture my own shots. I have a Nikon D80 Slr, with micro lens, and 70-300mm. This
    site is full of beautiful pictures, thank you for showing them.
    Colette, Dublin


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