Dragonflies in danger

Dragonfly ThumbnailDid you know that most dragonflies only live for a few weeks as an adult?  I spotted one perched by the edge of the pond. It darted around a great deal to catch small flies then returned to the same place to lie in wait for the next victim.
A perfect photo opportunity I thought…

It turns out that taking photos of dragonflies is much more difficult than I imagined! Each time I was ready to take a shot the dragonfly flew off. I watched it for a long time. Eventually I managed to predict when and where the dragonfly would land and I took a couple of photos I was happy with.

The images above are just fragments of a much larger picture.
Here’s the original photograph.

Dragonfly camoflagedApparently dragonflies can eat hundreds of small flies and insects every day… possibly as many as 600. A couple of favourite perches on tall Iris foliage at the edge of the pond gave this dragonfly a good view over the water and it’s prey.
Dragonflies actually spend most of their lives under water, first as eggs then as nymphs. The nymphs grow and change in the pond for about two years until they are ready to emerge and transform into adults. What amazing creatures they are.

DragonflyAdults prefer habitats with a variety of vegetation. They like long grass and quiet areas of hedgerows or woodland and established ponds with marginal plants like Iris and floating leaved plants such as water lilies. This one repeatedly hunted for food around the pond then later on cruised up and down a nearby hedgerow which was also teaming with insects.

Dragonfly Resting

Like so many of our Bees and Butterflies some Dragonflies are also in danger. Loss of habitat is a big threat to them and most species are sensitive to pollution. Water quality is particularly important for the survival of nymphs… they need plenty of food to make it to adulthood. Insecticides and fertilisers affect both the larvae they eat underwater and the mature insects that adult dragonflies need too. That’s a bit worrying isn’t it?

Dragonfly Conservation.
There are a few organisations dedicated to helping these beautiful creatures. The British Dragonfly Society has photos to help you identify any Dragonflies and Damselflies that you spot. There is also a page for you to record what you have seen. Click on News and Events then Latest Sightings.

Hope you are enjoying the lovely September sunshine. Gillian 🙂