Tamara spotted these two damselflies on the railing by the riverside as we walked along yesterday.
They were oblivious (at least I think they were) as I put the camera into closeup mode and got nearer and nearer to shoot the photos.
I have made a larger than usual web version of the photo, so if you click the photo and then click again, you will see it much larger.
The male is the one with the blue wings. He is at the front and he is clasping the female around the back of her neck. This is apparently to resist the attempts by other males to dislodge him.
At the same time she bends body under and in front of her to connect with the male’s genitals.
I’m not clear exactly what is going on because I read that the male has secondary genitalia under the second and third segment of his abdomen. Which begs the question of where the male’s primary genitalia are…
After mating, the male guards the female from rivals while she lays her eggs by pushing them into plants just below the surface of the water.
So it makes sense that we saw them by the river because it saves on travel time.
Know Your Damsels and Dragons
It’s good to know damselflies from dragonflies. I knew about the different ways they rest their wings when they are stationary, but I didn’t know about the eyes or the relative size of the two pairs of wings.
At rest they hold their wings along the length of their body. (That
is except the emerald damselflies).
Their wings are about equal size and shape.
Their eyes are always separated.
At rest they hold their wings out at right angles to their body.
Their fore wings are different from their hind wings.
Their eyes are large and generally meet at the top of their head.
Pretty sure these are Banded Demoiselles.
Glad we came upon them, and this is a lovely post, but — poor “kids”!!! Such a lack of privacy they were enduring, and then just a bit of gentle breeze made them go “overboard” from the metal barrier on that part of the River Cam kerplunk into the water. Tough life at least in part…
Thanks too for your interesting explanation of the differences between damselflies and dragonflies.
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Part of the cycle of life – sex and then kerplunk.
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Spectacular photo, David! I absolutely love damselflies. Now, to ID the species! May I ask, what lens you used?
I think they are Banded Demoiselles. That fits with the darker colour on only part of the male’s wings – and that the female has coloured wings.
The camera is a Ricoh GR III, and it has a fixed 28mm lens. It has a button on the D-pad at the back that switches the lens to close focus and the close-focus range is from 6cm to 12cm (2.36 to 4.72 inches) from the front of the lens.