1 Mar 2021

Volunteer Views:

Hi everyone, back in August and September last year I shared a little bit about my experiences of exploring nature and photographing butterflies and birds in My Big Brum BioBlitz  and My Big Brum BioBlitz Take Two  blog posts. Well I have carried my love of nature and photography into 2021 and this time I would like to share some dragonfly photos and information with you all.

Dragonflies are amongst the oldest insects on our planet and have been around for 300 million years. Some fossils have shown dragonflies with a wingspan of 2 feet - that is a big insect! - but they are harmless to us as they only eat the bugs that they catch in the air.

My first dragonfly I would like to share with you all is the Broad Bodied Chaser (Libellula depressa, to give it its Latin name) and the most common place to find these is by the canal. The female of this species has a golden coloured body whilst the male is pale blue and both can be seen in the air from May to August. One of the most amazing things about this insect is the structure at the base of the wings which looks like the most complex piece of engineering. Watching them fly is just amazing and they are so quick and can change direction at the flick of their wings. They are not the largest of dragonflies and they grow to just under 50mm, whereas some dragonflies can grow to 80mm.

Broad Bodied Chasser

My second insect is the Banded Demoiselle (Calopteryx Splendens is its Latin name)  and like the last one it can be found mainly by the canal, there are always many of these to be seen. This one is a damselfly and is therefore in the same order (Odonata) as dragonflies but not the same family. They love to sit on twigs and flex their amazing wings. These insects are also in flight from May to August and are 45mm long. The females have an amazing green metallic colouring and the males a blue metallic sheen which in the sunlight is fantastic to see.

Banded Demoiselle

And now on to my third insect and this one is a Southern Hawker (Aeshna Cyanea in Latin) which can be spotted in gardens, woodlands, canals, ponds, and lakes. The eyes of these creatures cover almost all their head and give them the most amazing almost all-round vision. This dragonfly is in flight from June to October and grows to a length of 70mm.

Southern Hawker

I hope you have enjoyed this little introduction to dragonflies and hopefully you are getting the opportunity to see some wildlife; because the natural world is there for us all to enjoy and make us smile. And do watch out for the dragonflies yourselves from May onwards!