Dragon­flies and spi­ders galore

Middlesbrough Herald & Post - - HERALD & POST -

LOTS of dragon­flies have been tak­ing ad­van­tage of the bright, sunny spells in be­tween the show­ers.

Cer­tainly there ap­pear to be many more of them by this stage of the sum­mer com­pared to last year’s dis­mal num­bers.

This fine photo of a broad bod­ied chaser was taken by David Pye at Carr Pond in the Es­ton Hills.

These chubby dragon­flies that fully re­flect their names are more com­monly seen in the south, so a Cleve­land sight­ing is a good tick.

The broad bod­ied chaser is said to be the first crea­ture to colonise newly dug gar­den ponds so go and get that spade out!

I think I am cor­rect in say­ing that the drag­on­fly in the pic­ture is a fe­male be­cause I be­lieve that the male has a lot of light blue colour­ing on its ab­domen.

Broad bod­ied chasers are closely re­lated to fourspot­ted chasers, which are much more com­mon in our re­gion.

In fact, I have seen a lot of these brown­ish drag- on­flies dur­ing the past cou­ple of weeks ag­gres­sively com­pet­ing for ter­ri­to­ries in the shal­low pools at RSPB Saltholme.

Ob­vi­ous mat­ing has also taken place in flight so no doubt we can look for­ward to an­other clutch of four-spot­ted chasers next year.

In the past I have seen the fe­males de­posit their eggs in the wa­ter dur­ing flight, which gives a good in­sight into the life cy­cle of adult dragon­flies.

From dragon­flies to spi­ders, and am I the only one who has noted that my house has been ab­nor­mally awash with these eight-legged creepy crawlies this spring and early sum­mer?

We all tra­di­tion­ally ex­pect to see gi­ant house spi­ders in our homes in the au­tumn, when they al­legedly come out of the cold and stalk our walls and car­pets look­ing for a mate.

Ev­ery­thing then usu­ally qui­etens down and I al­ways used to be­lieve that the spi­ders stopped their crawl­ing and died of nat­u­ral causes.

Not so, it ap­pears. I’ve suf­fered some ner­vous mo­ments with scut­tling house spi­ders this year, which ap­pear to be even big­ger than they are in the au­tumn.

Now I’m led to un­der­stand that house spi­ders are with us all the time but, for three sea­sons of the year, don’t usu­ally put them­selves in an ex­posed sit­u­a­tion dur­ing the day­time.

This year is dif­fer­ent. They’ve boldly de­cided to make them­selves ob­vi­ous and I’ve had to move our bed slightly away from the wall to give us a chance of avoid be­ing crawled over dur­ing the night.

Eric would like to hear from read­ers about what they have seen. Email him at eric.pay­lor@gmail.com

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