We have acquired a new ‘puppy’. He is a Springer/Cocker cross so has boundless ene4renergy
a) Damselflies Animals
Slieve League, Co. Donegal
WildWest.ie A motley collection of Damselflies from the upper Shannon basin Azure Damselfly  Coenagrion puella Blue-tailed Damselfly  Ischnura elegans Common Blue Damselfly  Enallagma cyathigerum Variable Damselfly  Coenagrion puchellum Large Red Damselfly
Pyrrhosoma nymphula
Emerald Damselfly
Lestes sponsa
Variable Damselfly The Variable Damselfly can be confused with the Azure or Common blue at first sight, but if you look closely (or better still, examine a photograph at your leisure), the ‘U’ shaped mark on the thorax is joined onto the black ‘ring’ below it (they are separate in the Azure form), so that it looks like a Chalice, or Wine glass. They are more slender than other damselflies. Females have a green and a blue form. Another distinguishing feature is the shape of the pronotum (a little ‘collar, between the head and thorax) which has strongly trilobate margins. (In the Azure damselfly, this is much broader and flatter).
Common Blue Damselfly Male Common Blues can be distinguished from other damselflies by having a single black stripe on the side of the thorax, a black ‘Club’ shaped mark on segment 2 of the thorax, and all-blue upper surface of segments 8 and 9 of the abdomen. Immature males can be a paler blue or lilac, colour. The females can have variable colours, either blue, like the males, or the ‘drab’ form, which is a yellowish or pale biscuit colour. But all Common Blue females  have a little spine sticking out below segment 8 of the abdomen.
Blue-tailed Damselfly Males are fairly easy to identify, with a metallic black body, and bright blue segment 8 on the abdomen, with green or blue thorax. Females can have a variety or colour forms at different stages of maturity. The image on the middle left shows the ‘rufescens’ phase eating a moth, with reddish-pink thorax and blue tail. This ‘rufescens’ form develops into a more yellow/brown appearance with the ‘brown ’tail’ (far left). Females can occur in a violet coloured, or greenish form also! Blue-tailed damselflies can be seen in flight from May to September, and are reputed to be tolerant to some degree of pollution or brackish water. This is a beautiful species to photograph, showing such variation in colours.
Damselfly Habitats & Ecology… There are 11 species of Damselfly in Ireland; we illustrate samples of six species here. Hope to find more this year — particularly the very rare Irish Damselfly, Coenagrion lunulatum, which is found in patches across the northern half of Ireland and, locally, in northern and eastern Europe, but not in Britain?  NB. We would love more pictures and reports from Damselfly experts. Also, we have worked hard to correctly identify species shown but, if there are mistakes, please let us know. The habitats for Damselflies vary from bogs and streams to brackish pools and ditches. Many are found near small ponds and slow flowing rivers and streams or canals with much bordering vegetation for use in feeding or when changing from their larval stage.  The larvae of Damselflies are aquatic for most of the year, only leaving the water in early Summer to complete their changeover to adult form. They are vulnerable, at this stage, as their wings dry and stiffen, so need plenty of vegetation and shelter from predators. Females may disperse some distance from where they emerged rambling and feeding on hedges and ditches. The Common Blue Damselflies (mating in background picture) perch on low vegetation and catch their prey on the wing as well as among bushes, reeds and grasses. Immature female Variable Damselflies may be seen away from water only returning to consort with mature males who spend much time by water feeding on surrounding vegetation. After mating they form a tandem and fly together over calm water where the female then places her eggs
The Emerald damselfly looks larger, and sturdier than the the Blue damselflies, however, it appears to have a much weaker flight than the Blues. The female Emerald damsel, pictured here, has a green body, going into a burnished brown at the sides. It can perch with its wings half open, unlike the Blues, which close their wings fully at rest. Male Emeralds damselflies have a metallic green body, but as they mature, develop a bluish-white colour on the thorax and first two abdominal segments, and also on segments 8 and 9. These damselflies emerge in late June, and can be seen in flight up to September.
The Large Red damselfly is quite conspicuous, and unlikely to be mistaken for anything else with its red and black colouration, and black legs. This image is of a female, probably the ‘intermedia’ form. There are three colour forms with varying amounts of black on the body, and red and yellow thorax. Males have a predominantly red abdomen, with black on the 7th and 8th segments. Near the tips of the wings, there are black square shaped spots. The only other red Damselfly is the Small Red, which is not found in Ireland, though abundant in South West Europe, and in parts of Southern England and Wales.
NOTE: As these pictures are a bit too small to help identify salient features, we have linked each image to much larger files (1600px). Just Click to View!
Damselflies are a beautiful Order of species within the group that also contains the Dragonflies. This selection of photographs have been collected over the years. Damselflies are very variable, particularly in colour, which makes identification sometimes difficult. Identification is more often based on small features of their structure and anatomy rather than colours. Thus the Blue-tailed Damselfly doesn’t always have a blue tail! Azure Damselfly  This is a very common damselfly, to be seen on the wing from mid May (depending on the weather) until August. The head, thorax and abdomen of males are black and blue, while females have more black, with a blue or green thorax. Males have a characteristic black ‘U’ shaped mark on the second segment of the thorax. These damselflies are usually seen flying around emergent vegetation at the edges of ponds or ditches, or feeding by sunny  ditches, hedges and woods. Beautiful to see, and photograph, though they don’t stay in one spot for long!
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