Emerald Damselfly Lestes sponsa

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Length

35-39mm; Wingspan: Male 42mm; Female 45mm; Hindwing 19-22mm

Male

Emerald Damselfly - Lestes sponsa
Metallic green in colour. This species has a slow maturation period of two to four weeks, over this period a blue pruinescence appears on the thorax between wings and segments 1,2, 9 and 10. Eyes blue. Confusion species is Scarce Emerald Damselfly which is extinct in Yorkshire. Both sexes rest with wings half open.

Female

Emerald Damselfly - Lestes sponsa
Metallic green, with pale beige sides to the thorax. Distinctly thicker abdomen than male.

Gallery

Emerald Damselfly Gallery

Behaviour

Weak flyer usually remaining close to emergent vegetation, rarely going far over water. Copulation usually takes place close to breeding site and last from 30 minutes to over an hour. Females usually arrive to oviposit in tandem with the male. Oviposits in to stems of emergent grasses, rushes, sedges and horsetails, usually above surface, but can submerge, including the male. Fairly sedentary and can be absent from seemingly good sites.

Habitat

Still or slow moving water such as ponds, bogs, ditches, canals and lake edges with dense emergent vegetation. Tolerates brackish and acidic water. Sensitive to excessive clearance of emergent vegetation.

Flight Period

Nationally: Late May to early October.
Yorkshire: Late May, though more usually mid June to late September. Most abundant during late July.

emedam

Status

Found at many sites through VC61-64. Scarce or under recorded in VC65.

Locations

emerald-damselfly-lestes-sponsa

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

Blue-tailed Damselfly Ischnura elegans

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Length

29-34mm; Wingspan: 35-40mm; Hindwing 14-21mm

Male

Dark bronze-black metallic with blue segment 8. Blue or green sides to the thorax and antehumeral stripes. Blue eye spots. Pterostigma is distinctive being bi-coloured black and white. Tips of the lower appendages diverge.

Male Blue-tailed Damselfly at Pocklington Canal on 22/06/2010 - © Paul Ashton.

 

Female

Occur in several colour forms dependent on age. Segment 8, though not always blue, is usually clearly different from the other sections. Start as either rufescens with a reddish-pink thorax and blue segment 8 or violacea with a violet thorax and antehumeral stripes, black humeral stripes and blue segment 8. After around eight days they mature and change colour, rufescens become greenish-brown of the form rufescens-obsoleta. The form violacea mature into two separate from. The first is infuscans which is a pale green colour, and retaining the black humeral stripes. The second is an andromorph form which adopts the same colours as a male.

Female Blue-tailed Damselfly at Pocklington Canal on 22/06/2010 - © Paul Ashton.

 

Gallery

Blue-tailed Damselfly Gallery

Behavior

Usually stays low down in marginal vegetation, or sheltered well vegetated areas when away from water. Can remain in copulation for up to six hours, making this the most commonly found species in tandem. Female oviposits alone into aquatic vegetation of debris. Less dependent on warm sunny weather, can still be quite active in windy and cool overcast conditions.

Habitat

Has a wide habitat preference making it the most widespread species in the county, though not necessarily abundant. Present at still, slow moving and even brackish waters. Can even tolerate pollution to a small degree. An early coloniser of new ponds.

Flight Period

National: May to mid-September.
Yorkshire: May to mid-September.

bludam

Status

Common and widespread throughout the area, though scarcer in the uplands.

Locations

blue-tailed-damselfly-ischnura-elegans

Common Blue Damselfly Enallagma cyathigerum

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Length

32mm, Wings 36-42mm

Male

Bright blue body with black markings on upper surface of abdomen, segment 2 has lollipop mark; segment 8 and 9 all blue; broad antehumeral stripes on black thorax; eye spot linked by bar.

Male Common Blue Damselfly at Broomfleet Washlands on 23/05/2010 - © Paul Ashton.

 

Female

3 colour forms:-
1) abdomen with black markings.
2) Green with black markings.
3) Brown with black markings. All have characteristic medial spine under segment 8, presumably puncturing plant material before inserting an egg.

17062010-comblu-female-reiverhertford-paulashton

 

Gallery

Common Blue Damselfly Gallery

Habitat

Canals, gravel pits, lakes, ponds and slow moving rivers.

Behavior

Pairs lay eggs into stems of vegetation, female often immersing, when male will detach from her. Male will pull her out if she has difficulty. Larvae 2 years. Adults feed around grasses catching small insects.

Flight Period

Mid-May to late September.

Status

Occurs on a wide range of varying water-bodies. Can be more conspicuous than the similar Azure Damselfly. Blue damselflies ranging far over open water are usually this species. Generally the most abundant blue damselfly at sites, where the Azure can be absent.

Locations

common-blue-damselfly-enallagma-cyathigerum

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

Southern Hawker Aeshna cyanea

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Length

70mm, Wings 98mm.

Males

Thorax – green and brown with broad green antehumeral stripes; abdomen – yellow triangle segment 2, green spots segments 3-8; undivided blue spots segments 9-10; wings brownish tinge; legs brown-black.

22082007-souhaw-male-northcliffe-paulashton

 

Females

Thorax – green and brown with broad green antehumeral stripes; abdomen brown with green spots, undivided green spots on segments 9-10.

2003-souhaw-female-paulashton

 

Gallery

Southern Hawker Gallery

Habitat

Canals, ditches and ponds at lower levels.

Behavior

Males prefer to avoid competition with other males. Copulation takes up to 2 hours. Females lay eggs unaccompanied. Larvae 2 years.

Flight Period

Mid-July to end of September. Found throughout England and Wales, gradually spreading northwards.

Locations

southern-hawker-aeshna-cyanea

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

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