Friday, July 28, 2006

Small Red-eyed Damselfly - at last!

Small Red-eyed Damselfly | Peterborough | 28 July 06.

It's been coming, and I've been searching my local fens for them, but today Brian Stone found the first Red-eyed Damselflies for the Peterborough area in the feeder dyke of the rowing lake near Thorpe Meadows, Peterborough.

The species was only discivered in Britain in 1999, and can now be found across much of south-east England. The Little Egret of the damselfly world!

Small Red-eyed Damselfly | Peterborough | 28 July 06.
One of c.16+ ovipositing pairs | Image Leica APO Televid 77 & Nikon Coolpix 995

Small Red-eyed Damselfly habitat | Peterborough | 28 July 06.
The stretch of dyke feeding the rowing lake the insects were found on. The small stretch of dyke either side of the footbridge held c.80 Small Red-eyed Damsels and 30+ Large Red-eyed Damsels. They do seem to prefer areas with floating weed and debris rather than lilly pads etc that Large Red-eyed are often associated with.

Small Red-eyed Damselfly | Peterborough | 28 July 06.
Compare with Large Red-eyed Damselfly below.

Large Red-eyed Damselfly | Peterborough | 28 July 06.
Compare with Small Red-eyed Damselfly above.

The ony real obvoius feature that stands out in these images is the blue near teh abdomen tip - it extends up the underside of the abdomen on Small Red-eyed. IN the field, look also for smaller size (when occuring with Large Red-eyed) and the more jaffa orange eyes. Male Small Red-eyed also has full or incomplete antehumral stripes (non in male Large) and female has complete antehumral stripes (ony partial in Large). Also, not very obvious I feel but can be seen on some individuals, is that Small Red-eyes abdomen are more shiny black than Large's duller and greyer looking abdomen.

Images | Panasonic Lumix FZ-30

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