Here there be Dragons! But which one?   Leave a comment

I think what I photographed yesterday was a Southern Hawker (Aeshna cyanea). It alighted on ivy on one of our garden walls and accommodatingly posed for a good few minutes for my camera – took direction well and didn’t need paying or a Model Release Form. *Cough.

So, if this was a Hawker then its Habitat is canals, ditches and ponds at lower levels. We have a pond so that would fit. Behavior; males prefer to avoid competition with other males and copulation takes up to 2 hours (lucky gals). Females lay eggs unaccompanied (typical bloke). Their flight period is mid-July to end of September and its found throughout England and Wales, but is gradually spreading northwards (cheaper housing).

So its a bit early for this guy to be out and about, which makes me think it may be a Golden-ringed Dragonfly (Cordulegaster boltonii) , which the text books describe it as ‘a very large dragonfly ( it was) which is on the wing from May to September, which fits better. It is said to normally inhabit small, acidic streams in moorland and heathland but may be found away from its breeding sites (nope – just a small pond). The female of this species is the UK’s longest dragonfly because of her long ovipositor (okay, I had to go and Google this and that’s ‘a tubular organ through which a female insect or fish deposits eggs’. ) . Golden-ringed dragonflies are voracious predators, feeding on large insects such as damselflies, other dragonflies, wasps, beetles and bumblebees. They are fast, agile and powerful flyers.

Only this guy, or gal, doesn’t have golden rings, they are more pale blue or pale turquoise, don’t you think. Maybe this is a Southern Hawker after all? Anybody out there know for sure?

 

Dragonfly june 2014

So, which dragonfly is this; a Golden-ringed or a Southern Hawker? Answers on a postcard please. Either way it is rather beautiful don’t ya think?

Shot with a Canon 5D3 and a 100-400mm Canon lens.

(c) Drew Smith Photography.

 

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