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
Status

Evenly distributed across VC61-64, scarcer in VC65.

Locations
Distribution Map

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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

Prefers acidic conditions, consisting of bog pools, ponds and lake margins on moorland and heathland. Will also use slow-flowing sections of upland streams. Requires areas of emergent vegetation to breed.

Behavior

Males are territorial, regularly chasing off intruders of any species. They are relentless flyers and can often be found active in dull conditions. Copulation takes from 60-75 minutes, with pairs usually settling amongst the heather, shrubs or trees. The female oviposits alone, inserting the eggs into submerged vegetation. Oviposition may take place in dull weather, when the first sign of activity is the sound of rustling wings in low vegetation. Larvae develop over a period of two or more years amongst the submerged vegetation. They emerge, usually at night, on emergent plant stems. They regularly wander away from breeding sites to feed in sheltered areas, such as woodland rides.

Flight Period

Locations
Distribution Map

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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

Lakes, ponds, gravel pits, canals, ditches and slow-flowing rivers. Will tolerate moderate levels of pollution.

Behavior

Males are territorial, even defending territories away from water. They are often observed hawking along woodland rides and hedgerows. This is a difficult species to approach when settled, the first sign of their presence is usually the rustling of wings, as the fly up from roosting places in tall grasses. Copulation is lengthy, the female then ovipositing into emergent floating vegetation, or decaying floating logs, where several females may oviposit together. Larvae emerge two to four years later at night, with the maiden flight taking place before dawn.

Flight Period

Locations
Distribution Map

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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
Locations
Distribution Map

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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

Prefers sites of still water consisting of lakes, ponds, bog pools, canals and dykes. Will tolerate brackish conditions. The largest concentrations are associated with acidic ponds and pools.

Behavior

Males are territorial, their noisy clashes are obvious where densities are high. Readily returns to the same perch on emergent vegetation, after sparring with other males, or after short patrols along the waters edge. Copulation is short taking place in flight, only lasting for 5-20 seconds. Female oviposits by flicking the abdomen tip downwards into the water. The eggs then sink and adhere to submerged vegetation. Males may stay close by to guard females during oviposition. Larvae live among the bottom debris, then emerge after two to four years. Emergence takes place amongst marginal vegetation during daylight hours.

Flight Period
Locations
Distribution Map

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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

Small lakes, ponds, garden ponds, ditches and canals with well-vegetated margins and sheltered sunny locations. Will use bog pools if they are not too acidic. Often, one of the first species to colonise new water bodies.

Behavior

Males are aggressively territorial, there seldom being more than one male at any small pond. They perch on stems of tall emergent vegetation, or on the ground, chasing off any intruding males that appear within their territory. Copulation takes place in flight, lasting for only a few seconds. The female oviposits by flicking the tip of her abdomen into the water rapidly, occasionally with the male guarding her nearby. Larvae live amongst the bottom debris, emerging after two to three years. Emergence at sites is usually synchronous on marginal and emergent vegetation.

Status

Widespread though scarce in VC65 Noert-east Yorkshire.

Flight Period
Locations
Distribution Map

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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
Status

Confined to VC62 where it appears to be present in suitable sites surrounding Fylingdales Moor. Several records of dispersing individuals.

Locations
Distribution Map

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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

Preferences are quite catholic, including ponds, lakes, canals, ditches and slow-flowing rivers. It is tolerant of brackish conditions and peaty bog pools. Can be found away from breeding sites feeding in sheltered locations, like woodland rides and hedgerows.

Behavior

Males are territorial, spending a lot of time perched, only making short flights when disturbed or chasing off intruders. Basks on the ground, especially late in the season when temperatures are lower. Frequently found away from water in sheltered areas, especially females wanting to avoid attention from males. Copulation takes place at rest, lasting around 10-15 minutes. Oviposition regularly takes place in tandem, where the eggs are flicked into the water by dipping the abdomen onto the surface. Females will also oviposit alone. Larvae emerge after one year, this taking place during the morning, onto bare bank sides or emergent vegetation.

Flight Period

Locations
Distribution Map

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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

Behaviour

Males are not very territorial, with large numbers being present at some sites. Males hover over emergent vegetation, seeking females to mate with. They will frequently settle, especially on open ground and stones. In hot weather they will rest in the obelisk position, with abdomen pointing upwards, to reduce the surface area presented to the sun. Copulation lasts for several minutes, with oviposition taking place in tandem or alone. Oviposition takes place either directly into water, or into mud and mats of vegetation. Larvae emerge after one year and can survive the temporary drying out of their habitat.

Habitat

Mainly heaths containing boggy pools, peaty ponds and lakes with abundant emergent rushes and sedges. Sheltered sites produce the highest numbers. Sometimes disperses into atypical locations.

Flight Period

Locations
Distribution Map

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