Sunday, 24 February 2013

A Southern Beauty

The Southern Hawker must be one of my favourite British dragonflies.The male splendid in green,blue and yellow and the particularly attractive female in brown and apple green.There can be no better moment than watching a patrolling male as it flies along the bank of its pondside territory investigating all the nooks and crannies,and also taking a great interest in any intruder.They will hover around you ,returning now and again for yet another look.
This species seems to be quite common on the Isle of Wight.I have seen it at streams,in woodland rides,at large ponds,and at my humble garden pond.The female can be seen laying eggs at the base of pondside plants and into mosses and even logs.

The eggs overwinter in this vegetation and hatch the following spring.After two or three years the larvae are ready to emerge from the pond.
Emergence will take several hours as once the dragonfly has broken out of the larval case it must straighten by pumping fluid through its body and wings.Colour will develop gradually and the teneral will soon be ready for its first flight.

The immature male dragonfly will now spend time hunting for food in woodland glades until it matures and then will return to water to defend a territory and await females.



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