Sunday, 30 June 2013

Blue Damsels.

On Friday I thought it was time that I searched for some more butterflies so I headed over to Bookham Common and walked the numerous tree lined grassy tracks but the only species I found was a Speckled Wood. 
At my favourite woodland glade the ferns were already as tall as me and birch saplings had sprung up invading nearly a third of the previously open area which was also devoid of any flutters. I therefore revised my plan and turned my attention to what was available but waiting for any of the various Blue Damselflies to stop flying around was going to test my  patience!

So here is the selection that made it onto my memory card.

  A male Azure Damselfly (Coenagrion puella).

 An immature male Azure changing from pale mauve to blue.

The second species noted was the Blue-tailed Damselfly (Ischnura elegans). 

Mature males are fairly easy to identify as they have a metallic-black abdomen with a bright blue spot at the "tail" (segment 8), blue thorax, blue eyes plus the long bicoloured pterostigma on the fore wing which is present on all forms of this species. However on 'teneral' males the thorax and S8 are violet and on immature males the thorax is green but S8 is blue.



If you thought that was confusing then consider the females who can vary with at least 5 different colour forms: [1] rufescens form which emerge with a reddish-pink thorax and after about 8 days changes to yellowish-brown to become the mature version rufescens-obsoleta. [2] violacea form that starts life with a violet thorax but can then mature into either the [a] andromorph with colour and markings very similar to the mature males or into [b] infuscans which can be found with either a green or brownish thorax.  


Based on the pale blueish-mauve colour of the thorax and S8 I initially thought this was a teneral male but in view of the very thin antehumeral line it is more likely to be an immature female Blue-tailed (Ischnura elegans) form violacea. [Many thanks to Noushka  for her assistance with the identification.]

 A typical mature male Common Blue Damselfly (Enallagma cyathigerum).

 A female (blue form) Common Blue Damselfly.

A female (drab form) Common Blue Damselfly.

And finally the only butterfly on parade ... a Speckled Wood.   FAB.

Linking to  Macro Monday 2 and Nature Notes.

33 comments:

  1. really great shot on the fern!

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  2. Your patience paid off Frank and you got a great set of images. It doesn't look like being a good year for butterflies, they still seem to be scarce around here at the moment, I hope things improve soon!
    Is that your dog in the first image?...[;o)

    Tomorrow we're off to Strumpshaw Fen looking for Swallowtails!!

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    1. Trevor. No, the real owner just wanted its photo taken ...lol.

      I had another search for flutters yesterday without much luck again.

      I'll be looking out for some great pics of Swallowtails then?

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  3. Sadly, I've hardly seen any flutters this year Frank.. I share your frustration... and only one Dragonfly so far in addition to the damsels!

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  4. Beautiful critters. I had not seen a damselfly before.

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  5. Hi Frank Well you got some good shots in the end. I never have been able to photograph these creatures, they are just so flighty for me. Perhaps the Irish ones are busier and more in a hurry!!! Margaret

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  6. beautiful captures...lovely!

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  7. I enjoy the nature photographs; the colours of these beautiful insects is picked up so wonderfully through your images Frank; well done

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  8. Stunning set Frank,superb details.
    John.

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  9. Very nice this type of insect .. There are so many !!!.. Excellent images. Congratulations.

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  10. Lovely shots of the Damsels Frank.
    Been a real dearth of Dragons and Butterflies here so far.

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  11. Great array of damsels!
    Well done!
    Just one detail though:
    On pic N°3 it is Ishnura elegans, an immature female; probably type C, considering the very thin antehumeral line.
    Cheers Frank, have a nice weekend

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  12. A nice set of damsels Frank and at least we are seeing S/Woods this year at last.

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  13. You are very welcome Frank!
    It is so heart-warming to see someone trying to ID properly these "extra-ordinary" insects, in so many ways!
    You can have a look at this blog I administer and where I publish, here:
    odonatas69a.blogspot.fr/
    Dragonflies go by latin names.
    Enjoy your sunday, cheers!

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    Replies
    1. Thank you Noushka. Your odonata blog was very helpful and I'll drop by from time to time. Cheers FAB.

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  14. Great shots, Frank. Congratulations.
    Bye :)

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Damian, I try my best with what's on offer.

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  15. Great photos and information, Frank!

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  16. Beautiful damselflies and the butterfly is a treat!

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  17. Great photos! That butterfly is beautiful!

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  18. Det är så fina bilder! Jag har även tittat på dina fjärilar - en del har jag sett men kan bara de svenska namnen.

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  19. Very nice photos, in my area the damselflies are rare this year.

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  20. I could not find anything in the dragonfly world, and the only butterflies were a few of the Speckled and Green-vein. Maybe I wasn't looking so much. But, you gave them a great turn of photographs, well done Frank.

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    Replies
    1. Bob. I think most of them must be in hiding from the cool, breezy weather!

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  21. Thank you for visiting my blog. There are so many varieties of damselflies and dragonflies, all of which are fascinating. You've captured some beauties.

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  22. The damselflies are beautiful and I love the butterfly.

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  23. So sleek and elegant, your damsels are. Sounds like a great little hike, even if you didn't get the fancy butterfly shots.

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  24. The speckled wood butterfly is a beauty to my eyes. Great shots of the damselflies too!

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  25. Very interesting and informative post. I love the shots of the damselflies and butterfly.

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  26. Great post and captures of the damselflies.

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  27. I am not seeing butterflies...but there are dragons and damsels.... These are fantastic photos with info that confirms how hard it can be to I'd them... Michelle

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