Monday, 29 June 2015

A blue tailed damselfly wash and brush up

Blue tailed damselflies (Ischnura elegans) have joined in the summer fun. It may be my imagination but they seem the shyest of the local damselflies, diminutive compared to their cousins.  Common red damselflies have an assertive flight, positively bossy in manner . They are on the wing early too and have been quartering their wetland homes for a few weeks now. Azure damselflies are also purposeful, zippy, an effect accentuated by the vivid almost all over blue of the males. The blue tails though tend to be more wary, fluttering into cover if you approach too boldly. The males are a slate grey with the blue spot at the end of their abdomen sometimes seeming to be in flying solo if the rest of the damselfly is obscured amongst the sedges and herbs. The females are even less conspicuous, although if you can sneak up close you’ll often find one flushed with a lilac thorax (the middle part of the body, bearing the wings and legs) or pale chestnut. This little male is giving himself a wipe behind his eyes before setting off on patrol, stretching his left foreleg over his head to wipe any specks from his bulbous eyes.  His blue tail spot is not fully coloured yet, but will become more intense with time. Watch out for blue specks floating through the plants around wetlands; each speck is likely to be a male blue tail, even if the rest of him is hard to see.

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