|Common Blue Damselflies courting|
|Two pairs of Damselflies gripped in courtship|
It's all been happening at the kitchen garden pond this week. Damselflies are already busy courting, in the pictures you can see the tip of the blue male's abdomen attached to the neck of the female, this is the prelude to mating.
In the video clip below you can see the two males having a brief chat whilst the females below do the same.
After watching the damsels for a while I became aware of something else in distress. A mature dragonfly nymph had crawled up the wall of the pond with a grotesque appendage...
|Dragonfly nymph climbs out of the pond to escape attacker|
Another dragonfly nymph had firmly attached himself to the escapee, his jaws clamped to where the wings should one day soon burst forth. I initially thought the 'victim' had been attacked as he or she prepared to leave the pond and moult, but eventually the attacker released his grip and both animals returned to the water. This said to me that, in this case, leaving the water was purely an act of avoiding predation.
|Emperor Dragonfly nymph leaving the water|
The same could not be said for this individual. As it hauled itself up the Iris stem, looking very likely to begin final metamorphosis at any moment, it came under attack from a completely unexpected source...
This frog is the first frog reportedly seen in this pond for over 25 years, vertical walls making it an unlikely home for anything without the power of flight. The frog took several leaps at the dragonfly nymph, proving ultimately unsuccessful as the pond's previous contender as resident top predator managed to climb out of reach.
|Dragonfly nymph ready to emerge from its larval case|
|Detail of emerging adult|
On my evening visit I did manage to catch one dragonfly mid moult, the video clip shows it pulling clear of the larval case and inflating the wings (sped up).