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Essex Field Club
Essex Field Club
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The weblog below is for naturalists to use to report interesting sightings, ask questions, report on field meetings and generally post pictures and any information or questions generally relevant in some way to the wildlife and geology of Essex. You will need to register and be logged-on to post to the forum, and you need to upload pictures first, for use in posts. Find out more

Wed 22nd October 2014 19:09 by Robert Smith
Willow Emerald damselflies
Willow Emerald ovipositing Copyright: Robert Smith Sunday 19th October was a very mild October day, plenty of sunshine, if a little windy.  So a spot of autumn perch fishing was in order at Sandford Mill near Chelmsford.  I chose a spot on the canal section, just by a hump-back bridge, and on the opposite bank was an Elm sapling.  Occasionally, I noticed the odd damselfly being blown around in the wind, which I thought was unusual as I hadn't seen any for many weeks.  So I thought they might have been a notable species, particularly as there was a mating pair.  I eventually spotted them resting on the elm branches and managed to get some record shots from the opposite bank about 20' away.

After a bit of internet searching and help from Ted Benton, they turned out to be Willow Emerald damselflies, perhaps not that unusual on this river, but there were at least 4 of them and my photographs revealed the pair to be engaged in ovipositing.  Like the Willow, the Elm tree has soft bark, that this damselfly needs, in which to lays their eggs, provided that the branches are overhanging the water.  The larvae stay within the egg over winter and then hatch out in spring, falling to the water.  The life-cycle is very quick, as they reach maturity in late summer/autumn.

My internet searching also revealed that this species has recently been seen at Rainham Marshes for the first time, and also a single specimen in Hertfordshire.



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