Large Red Damselfly Pyrrhosoma nymphula

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Length

33-36mm; Wingspan: Male 44mm; Female 48mm; Hindwing 19-24mm

Male

The only red damselfly in Yorkshire and unlikely to be mistaken for anything else. Red abdomen, with black bands on segments 7 to 9. Thorax is black on the top with a red stripe (yellow in immatures). Black areas have a bronze tint.

Male Large Red Damselfly at Broomfleet Ponds Complex on 31/05/2009. - © Paul Ashton.

Male

Female

Occurs in three colour forms. The commonest form is typica, with black bands on most segments of the abdomen. Fulvipes is less well marked than typica and closely resembles the male. Melanotum is a dark from being mainly black, however the antehumeral stripes remain yellow (only yellow when immature in other forms).

Female typica form Large Red Damselfly at Tophill Low on 23/05/2010 - © Paul Ashton.

Female – typica

Gallery

Large Red Damselfly Gallery

Behaviour

This is the first damselfly to emerge each year in Yorkshire. It has a synchronous emergence, all emerging within a three week period, it is therefore shortly after emergence that this species is most abundant. Males emerge slightly earlier than females and also mature more quickly. Copulation lasts for around 15-20 minutes. Eggs are laid in tandem, the female may submerge taking the male with her. The life cycle is two years, on initially occupying a new site there may therefore only be adults found every other year.

Habitat

Has a wide habitat tolerance, including brackish and slightly polluted water, though avoids fast flowing water. Higher abundance in well vegetated, standing water.

Flight Period

National: Mid April to early September.
Yorkshire: Mid April to late July.

larred

Status

Evenly distributed across VC61-64, scarce in VC65.

Locations

large-red-damselfly-pyrrhosoma-nymphula

Common Hawker Aeshna juncea

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Length

74mm, Wings 95mm.

Males

Thorax top is black , narrow yellow antehumeral stripes and sides are brown with 2 narrow yellow thoracic stripes; abdomen black with pairs of yellow and blue spots including segments 9 and 10; legs black; wings have brilliant yellow costa.

22082009-comhaw-male-skipwith-paulashton

 

Females

Thorax brown; abdomen brown with paired yellow spots, sometimes green, rarely blue. Leading edge of the wing yellow.

23072010-comhaw-female-skipwith-paulashton

 

Gallery

Common Hawker Gallery

Habitat

Acidic moorland and heath land pools, of which there is little in the East Riding.

Behavior

Males seize upon females, mate for up to 1 hour in nearby vegetation. Female oviposits alone. Larvae 2+ years.

Flight Period

Late June – October. Found in Scotland, Wales and Western half of England including parts of Lincolnshire and North Yorks Moors.

Locations

common-hawker-aeshna-juncea

Brown Hawker Aeshna grandis

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Length

73mm, Wings 102mm.

Males

Thorax brown; abdomen brown with bright blue spots at sides; wings characteristically honey brown colour; legs pale brown.

01072011-brohaw-male-weltonwaters-barrywarrington

 

Females

As males except blue spots on abdomen replaced with yellow markings.

02072011-brohaw-tophilllow-paulashton

 

Gallery

Brown Hawker Gallery

Habitat

Canals, ditches, lakes , ponds and slow rivers.

Behavior

Hunt late in day often catching prey by street light (photo of wings which were found on street pavement). Males patrol at head height. Females lay eggs alone into water plants or damp wood. Breeds in a variety of standing or slow moving water sites. Can be encountered several miles away from water feeding along woodland edges or rides.

Flight Period

The national flight period is from mid-June to early October. The East Riding flight period is detailed in the chart below and is based on current records.

Locations

brown-hawker-aeshna-grandis

Golden-ringed Dragonfly Cordulegaster boltonii

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Male

Length 74mm, wings 100mm.

Predominantley black species, with yellow thoracic stripes and antehumeral stripes on the thorax, with yellow rings around the abdomen, slightly swollen towards the tip. Green eyes. Female Southern Hawkers sometimes confused with this species.

Male Golden-ringed Dragonfly at Fen Bog on 04/07/2009. - © Maurice Gordon.

Female

Length 84mm, wings 100mm.

Predominantley black species, with yellow thoracic stripes and antehumeral stripes on the thorax, with yellow rings around the parallel sided abdomen, ovipositor extending beyond segment 10. Green eyes. Female Southern Hawkers sometimes confused with this species.

09072011-goldra-newtondale-grahamfeatherstone

Both

Black with yellow markings, as rings on abdomen; eyes greenish; legs black; female has sharp ovipositor; wings clear with leading edges (costa) yellow.

Gallery

Golden-ringed Dragonfly Gallery

Habitat

Streams and rivers with silt, gravel or stone base in upland areas or lowland heath.

Behavior

Eggs laid in bed of stream, etc. Larvae 2-5 years.

Flight Period

Early June to end August. Basically a moorland species hence found chiefly in western side of Great Britain. Colonies present in North Yorkshire Moors. Occasional specimens seen in East Yorkshire are presumably vagrants. Has been recorded at Tophill Low and Flamborough Head.

Locations

golden-ringed-dragonfly-cordulegaster-boltonii

Four-spotted Chaser Libellula quadrimaculata

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Length

43mm, Wings 76mm

Males

Four-spotted Chaser at Tophill Low - 02/07/2011
Thorax brown, no antehumeral stripes; abdomen brown, last 4 segments darker than the rest, yellow spots on sides; wings dark patches at nodes on leading edges and at bases of rear wings.

 

Females

Four-spotted Chaser - Libellula quadrimaculata
Similar to males, main difference is the shape of the anal appendages.

 

Gallery

Four-spotted Chaser Gallery

Habitat

All types of still water.

Behavior

Males often use 1 perch, fiercely territorial towards other dragonflies. Rapid mating in flight. Females drop eggs into water. Larvae 2 years.

Flight Period

Mid-May – mid-August.

Locations

four-spotted-chaser-libellula-quadrimaculata

Broad-bodied Chaser Libellula depressa

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Length

44mm, Wings 76mm

Males

Broad-bodied Chaser - Libellula depressa
Thorax brown, pale, broad antehumeral stripes; brown patches at base of wings; broad abdomen blue with yellow spots at sides, legs brown, eyes brown.

Females

Broad-bodied Chaser
Thorax brown, pale, broad antehumeral stripes; abdomen yellowish brown with yellow spots along sides; wings brown base areas.

Immatures

Both sexes yellowish.

Gallery

Broad-bodied Chaser Gallery

Habitat

Occurs on areas of standing water, favouring small open ponds or ditches.

Behavior

Male aggressive, protects its territory, often resting on same perch. Females seized and rapidly mated. Female lays eggs alone, with male in vicinity. Eggs dropped into water. Larvae 2 years.

Status

A species that is expanding its range. Scarce in the East Riding, though breeding is probably taking place at several sites. Can visit garden ponds which could be a good source of records.

Flight Period

From mid-May to early August.

Locations

broad-bodied-chaser-libellula-depressa

Keeled Skimmer Orthetrum coerulescens

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Length

36-46mm; Wingspan: Male 57-63mm; Hindwing 28-34mm; Larva: 17-23mm

Males

Keeled Skimmer at Tranmire Bog - 03/07/2011
Dark brown thorax with buff antehumeral stripes, which fade with age. When mature the abdomen is blue, except S1. Blue grey eyes. Wings have a yellow tint when immature which clear as they mature. Pale yellow costa and orange pterostigma. Blue grey eyes.

Females

Keeled Skimmer - Orthertrum coerulescens
Dark brown thorax with buff antehumeral stripes. The abdomen is a yellow/brown colour with a thin dark keel line down the centre. Pale yellow costa and orange pterostigma.

Gallery

Keeled Skimmer Gallery

Behavior

Males have small territories observing them from the ground or low perches. Copulation occurs on the ground and can last anything from 2-60 minutes. Flight is fast and erratic with brief spells of hovering. Wings are held well forward when at rest. Females spend a lot of time resting in vegetation not far from water.

Habitat

Acidic wet heath and peaty moorland sites typically with sphagnum mosses, frequents pools, runnels and streams.

Flight Period

National: Mid-may to late September, usually early June to late August.
Yorkshire: Mid-June to early August.

keeski

Status

Confined to VC62 where it appears to be present in suitable sites surrounding Fylingdales Moor.

Locations

keeled-skimmer-orthetrum-coerulescens

Common Darter Sympetrum striolatum

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Length

37mm, Wings 57mm.

Males

Common Darter - Sympetrum striolatum
Thorax brown with yellow patches on sides; abdomen orange/red with black central line last 2 segments ; legs black/yellow; eyes brownish; black line on top of the frons only.

 

Females

Common Darter - Sympetrum striolatum
Thorax pale brown with yellow side panels; abdomen yellow with black central line segments 9-10 and along sides. Old females tend to take on male colours.

 

Gallery

Common Darter Gallery

Habitat

Any water.

Behavior

Find many males together over water. Eggs laid in tandem, eggs flipped into water. Larvae 1 year.

Flight Period

Mid-June to October. Found throughout England and Wales except very high ground.

Locations

common-darter-sympetrum-striolatum

Black Darter Sympetrum danae

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Length

32mm, Wings 47mm

Males

Black Darter - Sympetrum danae
Narrow waist on black abdomen with golden spots segment 1 and 2, 8 and 9; thorax 2 yellow bars on side, 1 of black panels has 3 yellow spots; legs black.

 

Females

Black Darter - Sympetrum danae
Yellow with black triangle top of thorax; legs black.

 

Gallery

Black Darter Gallery

Habitat

Prefers shallow acidic pools or bogs, with abundant emergent vegetation on Lowland Heaths or Moorland Bogs.

Status

VC61 – In the East Riding, breeding populations are confined to Skipwith Common, where it is the most abundant species, and a small colony at Allerthorpe Common. Adults are wanderers and can turn up many miles away from known sites, however it is also an immigrant, which could account for the coastal records.

Flight Period

The national flight period is mid-July to mid-September.

Locations

black-darter-sympetrum-danae