Saturday, 17 November 2012

Common Darter

Male Common Darter, Sympetrum striolatum.  Mill House, Keston, 31 August 2012.
Male Common Darter, Sympetrum striolatum.  Mill House, Keston, 31 August 2012.
In 2011 I didn't get many dragonfly photos, but I managed a few nice ones in 2012.  This was a Common Darter I saw resting on a stone that bordered the lawn of the Mill House in Keston, during a trip to see Keston Mill.   It might be disconcerting to groups I'm with when I dash off and photograph something, but the insects won't wait.

One day, I was walking past Keston Ponds and I saw that the lake was buzzing with Common Darters, pairing off and laying eggs.  Dragonflies really do form into pairs.  The male clasps the female and guides her over the water, dipping down occasionally so that she can lay an egg.

Common Darters in tandem, ovipositing. Sympetrum striolatum.  Keston Common, 8 September 2012.
Common Darters in tandem, ovipositing.  Keston Common, 8 September 2012.
We know it's the male who chooses when to lay, because it has been observed that even if the female being clasped is dead, the pair still make the same dipping motions.   Perhaps I should have posted this on Halloween ...

Common Darter, Sympetrum striolatum.  Female.  Keston Common, 15 September 2012.
Common Darter, Sympetrum striolatum.  Female.  Keston Common, 15 September 2012.

1 comment:

  1. Persons like me who knew dragonfly wings mostly from those given fairies in the Andrew Lang volumes can only gasp on seeing how beautiful and strange they really are.