17 October, 2009

Spectacular dragonfly

Dragonflies and damselflies* abound in late summer and early autumn. Although they like water and you're most likely to see them hunting over ponds and streams, you'll also see them flying ahead of you down a sunny path or quartering a meadow. One even turned up briefly to investigate the temporary puddles on our drive after washing the car.

They come in all shapes and sizes, from the tiny svelte damselflies not much bigger than a flying pencil lead to big chunky dragonflies whose wings rattle when they do a mid-air handbrake turn, and in a variety of colours from electric blue to bronze to metallic emerald. Normally they zip about so fast doing aerobatics that all I see of them is a flash of colour and a swirl of gossamer wings.





This one, however, as well as being just about the biggest dragonfly I have ever seen (something like 4-5 inches long from nose to tail), was also obliging enough to sit still on a blackberry bush long enough to be photographed. What a completely amazing creature. I think it might be a female Southern Hawker, but don't quote me on that.





















Slightly wider shot showing more of the wings.





















Close-up of the head and thorax. Just look at those eyes.


















Pictures taken in late September.

*Dragonflies hold their wings outstretched perpendicular to the body when at rest, damselflies fold their wings parallel to the body when at rest

8 comments:

nicola said...

I've always been fascinated by dragonflies--they look like tiny titanium helicopters.

The dragon- vs. damselfly wing thing reminds me of moths vs. butterflies...

Anyway, lovely photos.

Carla said...

I always think of them as a sort of miniature First World War biplane. Red Baron and all that...

The dragonfly should take the credit for the photos. It (she?) posed beautifully :-)

Daphne said...

Very cool pictures! Thanks for sharing.

Marg said...

There is something completely fascinating about dragonflies! Great pictures!

Alianore said...

WOW, congrats on taking such fascinating pics, Carla - and thanks to the dragonfly for being so obliging. :-)

Rick said...

How cool!

There is something very techno looking about dragonflies, isn't there?

Gabriele C. said...

What a cool creature. Andd great pics.

Carla said...

Thanks, all! Clearly the dragonfly has potential for a modelling career :-)

I always tend to think of dragonflies as tremendously ancient, the sort of things that might have darted around swamps startling the dinosaurs. The metallic colours do give them a sort of space-age-y look.