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

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

Emperor Dragonfly Anax imperator

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Length

78mm Wings, 106mm.

Males

Thorax bright green; abdomen blue with black central line; legs black; eyes green; wings clear with yellow costa.

Male Emperor Dragonfly at Farnham Lakes on 11/07/2009. - © Stuart Roebuck.

 

Females

Generally greenish with thicker black central abdominal line.

02072011-empdra-tophilllow-paulashton

 

Gallery

Emperor Dragonfly Gallery

Habitat

Canals, gravel pits, lakes and ponds.

Behavior

Males have strong flight, flying low over territorial waters. Females lay eggs alone into floating vegetation.

Flight Period

Late May to mid-August. In Great Britain found in most of England and Wales, south of Lancashire/ Humber. Gradually spreading through the East Riding.

Locations

emperor-dragonfly-anax-imperator

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

Black-tailed Skimmer Orthetrum cancellatum

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Length

50mm, Wings 78mm

Males

Black-tailed Skimmer - Orthetrum cancellatum
Thorax black, no antehumeral stripes; Abdomen top is blue with yellow spots towards sides, black tip; legs black.

Females

Black-tailed Skimmer - Orthetrum cancellatum
All yellow with 2 black bands on upper surface abdomen.

Gallery

Black-tailed Skimmer Gallery

Habitat

Prefers lakes, ponds, gravel workings, slow rivers or marshes, with exposed mud, stones or bare patches where the male can perch.

Behavior

Brief mating, female lays eggs unattended. Larvae 2-3 years.

Status

VC61 – A recent colonist to the area. Can be seen well at North Cave Wetlands were conditions are currently ideal for this species, however it may become less favorable as the site matures. Appears to be probably breeding at Tophill Low as numbers have increased over the last few years, though it is difficult to locate. Recorded with some regularity at Spurn with first records in 2004 from Welton Waters and Paull Holme Strays.

Flight Period

Nationally the flight period is from mid-May to late August.

Locations

black-tailed-skimmer-orthetrum-cancellatum

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

Ruddy Darter Sympetrum sanguineum

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Length

34mm, Wings 55mm.

Males

Ruddy Darter - Sympetrum sanguineum
Thorax brown with 2 thin black lines on sides; abdomen narrow waist, rich red colour; face red; legs all black; line over frons spreads down the sides.

 

Females

Ruddy Darter - Sympetrum sanguineum
Yellowish throughout with black markings on sides of thorax and abdomen; legs all black.

 

Gallery

Ruddy Darter Gallery

Habitat

Canals, ditches, lakes, gravel pits and ponds.

Behavior

Males defend territory. Capture females to mate in taller vegetation. Egg laying in tandem, flicking eggs into water. Larvae 1 year.

Flight Period

Late-June to October. In Great Britain found in southern and central England, including the East Riding, and spreading northwards.

Locations

ruddy-darter-sympetrum-sanguineum