Paul Leyland – Common Blue Damselfly

Paul writes: I am always fascinated by how damselflies effortlessly cantilever out from a piece of vegetation. This male has gone a stage further and is also carrying a female; they appear perfectly balanced. This is the start of the mating process, where the male grasps the female at the back of her neck. They can remain like this for a long time and will often fly off in tandem. If the female is receptive she will eventually curl the tip of her abdomen around to meet the male’s body just below the thorax, forming a heart shape. The sperm are then transferred from male to female. Once successful the female will quickly find a suitable place to lay her eggs, usually in amongst submerged plants.

The Common Blue Damselfly (Enallagma cyathigerum) is the most widespread species in the UK It can be found in almost all types of freshwater habitats except fast flowing rivers, even turning up in brackish or polluted waters. It mainly flies between May and August.

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