Tuesday, 16 June 2009

Pond Life

As the weather has warmed up the amount of wildlife around the ponds has rapidly increased. The lower pond in the front garden was a busy place today.

Blue-tailed damselfly (Ischnura elegans)

The Blue-tailed Damselfly is one of the two most regular in the pond. The male is mainly blackish with the blue on the tail confined to segment 8. The female cam occur in various colour forms, but a dull lilac colour is the most common.

(Azure Damselfly Coenagrion puella)

The commonest damselfly around the pond today ea the Azure Damselfly, although similar to the Common Blue Damselfly, the distinctive U -shaped mark on segment two is quite different to the mushroom mark on the Common Blue. The female is green or pale blue with extensive black markings.

This pair is mating, with the female laying eggs on the vegetation in the pond.

Helophilus pendulus

Other prominent insects included this Hoverfly. Its scientific name means "dangling swamp-lover" (from Greek Helos, "marsh, swamp", -phil, "love", Latin pend-, "hang"). It is a very common species in Britain, where it is the commonest Helophilus species

Common pondskater (Gerris lacustris)

I found it really difficult to get a sharp picture of this Pondskater, I hope to do better next time! This is the commonest and most likely Pondskater to be found in a garden pond. Pondskaters have very long legs and water-repellent feet which they use to skim across the surface tension 'film' of the water.

They are quickly attracted to any movement, such as the struggles of an insect that has fallen into the water. The pondskater will then 'row' across the water at high speed to investigate and secure its prey, using its front legs to grasp the victim. It flies well as an adult and quickly colonises a newly created garden pond. This pondskater is widespread and common throughout the country.

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