The mighty Emperor

In dragonflies, males are generally classed as fliers or perchers. Fliers spend most of their time on the wing – and have longer wings – whereas perchers spend most of the time sitting on a perch, from which they make short flights, defending territories and seeking females. The emperor dragonfly, Anax imperator Leach (Aeshnidae) is…

Dancing demosielles

There are four species of these beautiful Calopteryx damselflies belonging to the family Calopterygidae, in Europe, and two occur in Britain: the Beautiful and the Banded demoiselle (below). There are also a number of subspecies of each type. In this blog I am featuring a Spanish subspecies of Calopteryx virgo, called meridionalis, and Calopteryx splendens from Bedfordshire in…

Order, order! Insect diversity.

If insects could talk – English preferably! – I would like to ask them what they think is the key to their great success! In particular, I would like to ask a member of each Order of insects, to describe the main innovations and adaptations which have led to the success of their particular group.…

Look into my ocelli! Simple eyes.

Ocelli (singular: ocellus) are simple eyes and are found on many different kinds of insects (such as bees, wasps, flies and dragonflies) and spiders. In adult insects, like the beautiful Jewel wasp shown below, photographed by Johan J.Ingles-Le Nobel, there are usually three dorsal ocelli located on the top of the head: two small lateral…

Dragonfly eyes

  Anyone who has ever sat and watched dragonflies flying over a pond; turning back and forth and darting up to investigate an intruder, will not be surprised to learn that they have extraordinarily good eyesight, probably better than any other insect. Just as well perhaps, as they have a very poor sense of smell…

Green marsh hawks mating

Many people will be familiar with the sight of dragonflies (and damselflies) ‘in tandem’, without knowing exactly what is going on! I came across a pair of mating green marsh hawks in northern Thailand (Huai Hong Khrai Royal Development Study Centre) and managed to get a few shots of them hanging on to a grass…

Mnais damselflies: fighters and sneaks!

Damselflies in the genus Mnais are unusual in having two types of males: i) orange-winged morphs and ii) clear or glassy- winged (hyaline) forms which look like the females. The orange-winged morphs are highly territorial and fight with each other over desirable territories which are attractive to the females for egg laying. The clear-winged morphs are not…