In the hot weather, outdoor activities with the girls mostly consist of having fun in the paddling pool, or sitting in the shade in the tepee enjoying an ice lolly. While the girls were splashing about though, I noticed a damselfly in amongst the weeds and stopped to watch it for a while. I tried to get a few photos with my phone although they weren’t brilliant quality.
I wasn’t sure while I was watching it whether it was a damselfly or a dragonfly. So naturally, I went online to find out what the difference is and learn a little more about them. This is what I discovered:
1) The difference between damselflies and dragonflies
The general rule for telling which one is which is as follows:
- Dragonflies have their wings open at rest and their flight is strong and purposeful. If you can get close enough to see, their eyes will also be touching at the top of their head.
- Damselflies have their wings closed at rest and their flight is weak and fluttering. Their eyes are not touching at the top of their head.
The one I spotted had its wings closed, and therefore is likely to be a damselfly.
2) The life cycle of damselflies and dragonflies
Damselflies and dragonflies spent most of their lives underwater. They lay their eggs in and around ponds and rivers. The larvae live in the water, shedding their skins regularly as they grow. Once the larva is fully grown, it leaves the water and splits its skin once more to allow the adult to emerge. Once the adult reaches maturity, it is ready to mate and the cycle begins again.
3) What do damselflies and dragonflies eat?
Damselflies and dragonflies are carnivores. They will eat flies, midges, mosquitoes and even butterflies and moths if they can catch them. The larvae eat smaller underwater creatures, such as other aquatic insect larvae, water fleas or tadpoles.
One of the things I’m enjoying about #30DaysWild is the way it has encouraged me to learn more about the wildlife around me. So far I’ve learned a little more about ladybirds, discovered the names of some of the plants in my garden and now I’ve made a few discoveries about damselflies. I wonder what else I’ll learn before the month is over?
This year we’re taking part in #30DaysWild – a challenge from the Wildlife Trusts to get outside each day in June, do something wild and connect with nature.