Azure Damselflies Mating

Heart-shaped Embraces

There are many wonderful names in the natural world.  Yesterday by the pond I spied a Spilosoma lubricipeda, the most beautiful kitten-soft little moth, with a name that describes it so perfectly: the white ermine.  Indeed, of all creatures, moths have some of the best.  How about the small elephant hawk-moth, the common lutestring, the ruby tiger or the striped twin-spot carpet moth, as a start?

As richly descriptive as those may be, meandering further into myth and legend are the Odonata: the dragonflies and damselflies.   Given that these creatures were flying over our meadows and ponds with the early dinosaurs, over 300 million years ago, I suspect they deserve a little magic in their names.  We no longer have dragonflies as big as eagles, but they are still extraordinary fliers.  With four long wings, and large eyes, they have the agility and speed to catch the midges and gnats that make up their diet.

Azure Damselflies Mating

Azure Damselflies Mating

Darting around the wildlife pond, over the meadow and through the nearby shrubs, a good few Odonata can be seen at Sun Rising during the summer months.  Yesterday, the abundant species was the azure damselfly, Coenagrion puella.  Having emerged from their larval stage, the vivid blue males and olive green females were dancing over the water, pausing on reeds, and joining together in their heart-shaped embraces.  Having mated, the females then lay their eggs around the broad leaves of the pondweed leaves.