Dragonflies - Damselflies - Western Isles Insects
There are 8 dragonflies seen in The Western Isles - Large Red Damselfly, Four Spotted Chaser, Common Blue Damselfly,Blue-tailed Damselfly,Common Hawker,Common Darter, Black Darter & The Highland Darter (a species that isn't recognised by all authorities- some of whom see it as a form of the common darter ). The Golden-ringed Dragonfly and the Emerald Damselfly have also recently but been said to have been spotted but really are most rare.
Highland Darters - Sympetrum higrescens Lucasis
The highland darters are the smallest of the Scotland's Dragonflies, frequently be seen in The Western Isles.
There is some debate as to whether they are in fact a separate species or if they are a melanic form of the common darter. Whichever they are beautiful
INTERESTING FACTS AND MYTHS ABOUT DRAGONFLIES & DAMSELFLIES
Dragonflies Have No wings when Born
When a dragonfly is born it doesn't have wings.
Dragonflies are Larvae When Born
Dragonflies are larvae when born and have a part metamorphosis which is when the wings are grown
No relation to the Fly
Dragonflies aren't related in any way to the fly, despite their name, they are part of the Odonata order of insects.
Dragonflies Prey on Creatures
Dragonflies are insects that throughout all of their life prey on other creatures. As larvae they prey on mosquito & tiny fish - & as adult dragonflies they eat other insects that fly. They catch their prey in flight
DRAGONFLY 7 DAMSELFY - FACTS & INFORMATION
The largest dragonfly ever - a fossil that dates back 300 million years - was seen to have 3ft wingspan - this would have been the largest flying insect in the world
Lifespan from six months to several years
There are many dragonfly species - so lifespan varies from six months to a few years
Nymph Stage of Life - Sheds Skin
The time the dragonfly spends actually in water is the longest time span of its life - this is when it is called a nymph. During this stage of its life it sheds its skin several times - all this before finally crawling onto the land to break finally out of its skin as a dragonfly.
Adult Dragonfly - Short Lifespan
The adult dragonfly really has a short lifespan - just long enough to mature and mate
Wings Beating Fast - Fly Forward - Backward etc
Dragonflies have two sets of wings and therefore there is no necessity to beat the wings simultaneously. Their front wings can be going up - whilst the rear ones are going down. The wings flap at 30 times a second and they can reach a speed of 100km/h. They are able to fly forwards as well as backwards or up or down as they have really powerful flight muscles and the wings are incredibly strong.
Dragonflies eyes are structured such that they have incredible eyesight. Their compound eyes have up to 30,000 facets or lenses, each of which is a separate light-sensing organ or ommatidium, arranged to give nearly a 360°Field of vision. The dragonfly can detect even a slight movement. They can see colour as well as ultraviolet & polarised light - meaning that they are able to see reflections in the water.
The Japanese think the dragonfly means good things - whilst China think the opposite In Japan, the dragonfly stands for success, happiness and victory - however in China the people think the dragonfly symbolises instability and feebleness.
Dragonflies Have Large Optic Brain Lobes
They have large optic brain lobes and 80% of their mental processes are devoted to vision and they can detect colour, ultraviolet light and polarization. With such brilliant eyesight dragonflies can approach their prey from behind and below.
How you can tell whether the insect is a Dragonfly or a Damselfly
The large of the two are Dragonflies (Anisoptera). These really are powerful fliers. The head is sphere like and consists almost entirely of the huge pair of eyes. The front and rear wings are different shaped and are usually held open whilst the dragonfly is resting.
The much smaller and slimmer and delicate are the Damselflies (Zygoptera) - who have weak flutter for a flight. The damselflies have a rectangular shaped head is rectangular and their large eyes are either side of the the nose of the dragonfly.. The eyes are separated unlike The front and back wings are the same shape and are normally held closed along the abdomen when the damselfly is at rest.
Dragonflies Don't Bite Or Sting
Unless you handle them dragonflies don't bite or sting
Dragonfly lays 100,000 eggs
A dragonfly lays sometimes as many 100,000 eggs.
Territory and the male dragonfly
The male dragonflies stake claim to a territory and chase off other males
Black Darter Dragonfly
The black darter is the smallest of the UK's Dragonflies.
This beautiful dragonfly can frequently be seen in The Western Isles, Scotland and throughout the UK.
They are known as meadowhawks in the United States. This small heath land and moorland species is the only UK black dragonfly. The legs are entirely black. Females and immature males have a yellow abdomen and brown thorax marked with a black triangle on top
Large Red Damselfy
This beautiful red damselfly is one of the first dragonflies to show its face throughout The Western Isles, Scotland and the UK.
Red with extensive black markings & black legs, & some bronze on the abdomen.
It has a brilliant almost metallic red to the abdomen, with broad yellow, orange and black antehumeral stripes on the male
Females look similar to the males but, also have a narrow, patterned black line running down the centre of the abdomen.
Four Spotted Chaser Dragonfly
The four-spotted chaser dragonfly -seen here in The Western Isles - The Outer Hebrides.
Four-Spotted Chasers can be speedily identified by the clearly visible dark spots on each wing.
Males and females are very similar, with each wing having two dark markings, one in the middle and one toward the wing tip - i.e. 4 spots on each side which is where the name the four spotted chaser comes from.
The adult dragonflies eat eat insects - like gnats and midges
Common Darter Dragonflies
The common darter is a small, narrow-bodied dragonfly which is on the wing from the end of June right through to October, or even November in a warm autumn. This dragonfly has a wingspan of approximately 58mms
The female common darters and immature common darters are golden brown colour. (female pic opposite) whilst the males have an orange red body. This is one of the last dragonflies of the year on the wing & can be seen from mid June right through into November in some sheltered parts