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Four more species on the wing!

By June 9, 2015Blog

Well it sounds like I was surrounded by dragons and damsels, but I had to work hard to find them! I ventured off to 2 privately owned meres near Shrewsbury today, and on my arrival the sun departed! Despite this I managed to find 6 species mostly in the undergrowth. Red-eyed Damselfly Erythromma najas was most numerous and seen resting typically on lily pads (apologies for tiny photo):

I was also surprised by a female White-legged Damselfly Platycnemis pennipes drifting across my path- just like a piece of straw on the wind which is how this immature form lactea is often described:
I also saw my first Blue-tailed Damselfly Ischnura elegans this year – a species known to continue flying in cloudy conditions- so no surprise there! Male Azure Damselflies Coenagrion puella also put in an appearance as shown below:
You can just about make out the U shape on segment 2 of this male, the narrow antehumeral (shoulder stripes) and the black ‘bowtie’ marking at the end of the abdomen. I also saw Common Blue Damselfly Enallagma cyathigerum males:
These pictures show the solid blue colour on the side of the thorax and the far broader antehumeral stripes. There is also a different ‘lollipop’ shape mark on segment 2 and no black ‘bowtie’ on the end of the abdomen.

Interestingly this second photo shown above of a Common Blue male has unusual extra black markings on the side at the end of the abdomen.
And finally (and best of all) I was fortunate to see a number of Variable Damselflies Coenagrion pulchellum:

These are different again to the Common Blue or Azure Blue males. The shoulder stripes are broken and appear as exclamation marks, the U shape on segment 2 has a thicker base and is attached to the black ring at the end of segment 2, and the black marking is more extensive at the end of the abdomen. And just for the extra challenge, as the name suggests these markings can indeed be variable!

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