Emerging Dragonfly


Richard Bell's Wild West Yorkshire nature diary, Sunday 1st July, 2007


dragonflyWE WERE LUCKY to see this dragonfly emerge; our guests had just arrived for Sunday lunch and Barbara spotted it as she was briefly showing them what we've been up to in the garden.

I rushed for my camera and got these shaky shots, so, hopefully I'll be able to indentify the species.

This is the first time we've seen a dragonfly emerge from our pond, in fact it's the first time that I've ever that I've seen it happen. After the drastic clear-out of our pond last autumn I thought that there was little in the way of aquatic life in there but the dragonfly nymph is a voracious predator, at the top of many of the food chains in the pond, so if it has made it to maturity that shows that there are prey species there for it too.

We had no frog spawn this spring - perhaps they knew that the dragonfly nymph was stalking amongst the pond-weeds!

emergencenymphal caseNymphal Case

After a few minutes I went back and took another look at the dragonfly. It had opened it's wings (top left) and was trembling them. A moment later it flew off over the pond, across the hedge and, as it reached the dormer bungalow, next door but one to us, a sparrow flew up from the roof, chased it for a few yards and made two nearly successful attempts to catch the newly airborne dragonfly, which fortunately got away.

I used a pond net to collect the empty nymphal case. In this image, slightly larger than its 4.5 cm life-size, which I made by putting the case on my scanner, you can seen a white thread, which is the lining of one of the breathing tubes (of the adult, as I understand it).

The nymph climbs up an emergent plant, in this case the leaf of yellow flag iris, and the adult emerges through a slit in the back of the case.