Two by two

BBC Wildlife Magazine - - Wild July -

Dig­ging a pond is one of the very best things you can do for na­ture on your doorstep. Just ask Cor­nish pho­tog­ra­pher Ross Hod­dinott, who took this iconic sum­mer im­age of a male and fe­male emer­ald dam­selfly glis­ten­ing with dew be­side a pool he cre­ated as a boy with his dad. “It’s so sat­is­fy­ing to see the wildlife it now sup­ports,” he says. Emer­ald dam­sel­flies are among the many species that favour the reeded, rushy mar­gins. These me­tal­lic-look­ing in­sects of­ten perch like this with wings spread, rather than closed along their bod­ies like most dam­sel­flies. The ex­treme macro of the shot and care­ful light­ing re­duced the reedy back­ground to this vi­brant con­trast­ing yel­low.

Emer­ald dam­sel­flies be­gin to ap­pear in earnest in July, though numbers of­ten peak to­wards the end of sum­mer, later than many other dam­sel­flies. “In my ex­pe­ri­ence, they are quite so­cial,” says Ross. “They can roost close to­gether overnight. But find­ing two shar­ing the same perch like this is pretty un­usual.”

Seen from above, emer­ald dam­sel­flies are daz­zling green, but males have pow­der-blue tho­rax sides while those of fe­males are or­ange-buff. Look care­fully, and you’ll no­tice that fe­males also have a thicker body. The im­pres­sive spines on their legs help them to hold their prey tight.

GET IN­VOLVED

This July take part in Drag­on­fly Chal­lenge 2018. For de­tails go to: www.bri­tish-drag­on­flies.org.uk

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