Glen Parva & Glenhills Nature Reserve - Species List

Key to the list at the end of each section:
Black - Bio Blitz 2015 not photographed
Blue - Bio Blitz 2015 photographed
Red - photographed & identified by Volunteers
Green - from NatureSpot
All pictures are taken on the reserve.
Hover over the following pictures to enlarge

Dragonflies & Damselflies

Dragonflies are in one suborder of the Odonata, and their relatives, the damselflies, are in another suborder. Many people mistake the damselfly for the dragonfly, because they look alike.

Damselflies
have thinner, more delicate bodies than those of dragonflies. This you can see even when they are flying. When at rest, most damselflies hold their wings together above the body. Most dragonflies hold their wings horizontally. The eyes of dragonflies are larger, and touch each other.

Azure Damselfly - Coenagrion puella
John F June 2017

The azure damselfly is a small blue damselfly which is very common around most waterbodies and can also be found away from breeding sites in grassland and woodland. It is on the wing from the end of May through to August. Damselflies do not fly as strongly as dragonflies, so tend to lay in wait for their insect-prey before catching it in mid-air with their legs. They will return to their perThe azure damselfly is pale blue with bands of black along the body. To identify the small blue damselflies, of which there are seven species in the UK, it helps to concentrate on the pattern on the second segment of the males' abdomen, just behind the thorax. In the azure damselfly, this segment is blue with a black U-shape.ch to eat their prey.














Banded Demoiselle - Calopteryx splendens
John F June 2017

This is a large damselfly with a total length of up to 48 mm and a hind wing length of up to 36 mm.
The male has translucent wings which each have a broad, dark iridescent blue-black spot (or band) across the outer part. On immature dragonflies the spot is dark brown. The body can be a metallic blue or bluish green.
The dark wing patch of the male starts at the nodus (the slight dip midway down the upper edge of the wing) but can reach up to the wing-tip in southern races. In the very similar species Beautiful Demoiselle, the dark starts before the nodus.
The female has translucent, pale green iridescent wings with a white patch near the tip, and a metallic green body.



Banded Demoiselle (female)
John F June 2017

I think this is a female Banded Demoiselle.
Not to be confused with the Emerald Damselfly – which rests with its wings open thus giving it the common name of spreadwing.
Black-tailed Skimmer - Orthetrum cancellatum
John F Jun 2020

The Black-tailed skimmer is a medium-sized, straight-sided, fairly narrow-bodied dragonfly. It is on the wing from May to August and is commonly found in flooded gravel pits and reservoirs, where it flies low over the water before landing on the bare shore to rest in the sun. The larvae of Black-tailed skimmers can take two to three years to mature. Once they emerge from the water, they may travel some distance over land to find a suitable site to undergo metamorphosis. After mating, mature females lay their eggs by hovering over the water, dipping the tip of their abdomen in, and dropping their eggs on to vegetation below the surface.


























Blue-tailed Damselfly - Ischnura elegans
Sue & Roy 20140608

Adult male Blue-tailed Damselflies have a head and thorax patterned with blue and black. They have a largely black abdomen with very narrow pale markings where each segment joins the next. Segment eight, however, is entirely pale blue. At rest, the wings of most damselfly species are held back together, unlike dragonflies, which rest with their wings out flat. The thorax of juvenile males has a green tinge. A male can try to interfere with a mating pair, by attaching itself to the mating male.
Damselfly nymphs are aquatic, and prey on small aquatic insects or other aquatic larvae. The adult damselflies prey on small flying insects, caught using their legs like a basket to scoop the prey up while flying, or insects taken from leaves.



Blue-tailed Damselfly - Ischnura rufescens
John F June 2017

Female

 

 



Blue-tailed Damselfly - Ischnura rufescens-obsoleta
John F June 2017

Female














Common Blue Damsel - Enallagma cyathigerum
John F June 2017

The common blue damselfly can be easily mistaken for the azure damselfly, but on the back and the thorax, the common blue damselfly has more blue than black; for the azure damselfly it is the other way around. The second segment of the thorax has a distinctive spot with a line below connecting to the third segment. Another difference can be observed when inspecting the side of the thorax. The common blue damselfly has only one small black stripe there, while all other blue damselflies have two.
During mating, the male clasps the female by her neck while she bends her body around to his reproductive organs – this is called a mating wheel. The pair flies together over the water and eggs are laid within a suitable plant, just below the surface.

John F June 2017

This is the Common Blue female.














Common Darter - Sympetrum striolatum
Top Male Oct 2016 bottom Female Sept 2016
John F

Flight Period: July to October (sometimes in May and December)
A summer and autumn species, this dragonfly can be found well into November and may be one of the last on the wing in the UK. The thorax in both sexes is brown above with poorly defined antehumeral stripes and yellow panels on the sides. The eyes are brown above and yellow below. The legs are black with a diagnostic yellow stripe along their length.
Male: becomes a bright orange-red with maturity with small black spots on S8 and S9.
Female: pale, yellowish-brown abdomen often developing red markings along the segment boundaries and medial line as they age.














Common Hawker - Aeshna juncea
Karen O'Connell (top) and John F (bottom Sep 2020)

The common hawker is a large hawker dragonfly which is on the wing from the end of June through to October. Hawkers are the largest and fastest flying dragonflies; they catch their insect-prey mid-air and can hover or fly backwards.
Mostly black in colour, the male common hawker has pale blue spots and yellow flecks all along the body, dark blue eyes and pale yellow and blue patches on the thorax. The female has yellowish spots and brownish eyes. The black-and-blue hawkers are a tricky group of dragonflies to identify. The common hawker is larger and darker than the migrant hawker, lacks the lime green spots of the southern hawker and has more black and less blue than the rare azure hawker of northern Scotland. All the spots on the common hawker are separated whereas the spots on S8-10 on the southern hawker are joined.
Dragonflies spend most of their lives as nymphs. Unlike typical larvae that moult only once, like butterflies, nymphs go through a more gradual change (metamorphosis) into adults.
The nymphs look like mini adults without wings. You’re unlikely to spot them as they live underwater.
All dragonfly nymphs have six legs and wing-sheaths. They also have a hinged jaw that can shoot out in an instant to catch prey. Nymphs aren’t brightly coloured like adult dragonflies. Many are green or brown, so they are camouflaged from predators.
They emerge from their eggs tiny and tadpole-like. They spend their larval period eating as much as they can, growing and moulting. They shed their skins 5-14 times before they are ready to leave the water.














Emperor Dragonfly - Anax imperator
John F July 2017

The quality of the picture isn't good but it's a notoriously difficult insect to photograph as they are constantly on the wing.
Britain's bulkiest Dragonfly. Its bright colours and active habit make it very obvious when hunting over medium to large water bodies. It rarely settles, even eating its prey in flight. Both sexes have a bright, apple-green thorax and green or blue eyes. The costa is bright yellow. They often fly with the rear of the abdomen bent slightly downwards.
The male has a sky blue abdomen with a central dark line and the female has a green abdomen, similarly marked, which may become blue in warm weather.














Red-eyed Damselfly - Erythromma najas
John F July 2017

This species is quite a large and robust damselfly, with distinctive 'bug-eyed' look. Adult males have blood-red eyes and tend to rest on floating vegetation. They are very territorial and chase off any other encroaching male. When newly emerged they have nearly all black bodies and dark eyes, but their larger size helps to distinguish them from other species. Immature males and females are generally yellow and black.
The Rivers Soar and Wreake and the Ashby, Grand Union and Grantham Canals are all well populated sites in the Leicestershire & Rutland area



This picture shows the male with the red eye and the female with a green eye

Southern Hawker - Aeshna cyanea
Sue & Roy Sep 2016

This is a large hawker. Usually males are black with large apple green spots on the abdomen and with blue markings on the last two segments and along the sides of the abdomen. Thorax sides are largely bright green, as is the face, with blue eyes. Females are duller, having pale green and blue markings.
Distinguished from other Hawkers by the two 'head-light' markings on the thorax and also by the paired spots on the last two abdominal segments merging.
It is often recorded well away from water, though for breeding purposes it prefers smaller water bodies with wooded margins; garden pools are well used breeding sites.
Found from mid to late summer patrolling its territory before perching nearby. It can be curious of people and will fly up close to inspect the 'intruder' before carrying on its patrol.

Bio Blitz ------ 26-06-2015 blue & black

Azure Damselfly - Coenagrion puella
Banded Demoiselle - Calopteryx splendens
Black-tailed Skimmer - Orthetrum cancellatum
Blue-tailed Damselfly - Ischnura elegans
Common Blue Damselfly - Enallagma cyathigerum
Common Darter - Sympetrum striolatum
Common Hawker - Aeshna juncea

Emperor Dragonfly - Anax imperator
Emerald Damselfly - Lestes sponsa
Red-eyed Damselfly - Erythromma najas
Southern Hawker - Aeshna cyanea

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