All featured images were taken by and remain the property of Chris Brooks

The narrative was kindly written
 and supplied by
Mr Ken Crick

Downy Emerald (Cordulia aenea)

A Species Narrative by Ken Crick

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Welcome to my new style narrative, the content of which has been kindly written and supplied by Ken Crick. The narrative is intended to give an insight into the life cycle and characteristics of the featured species.

Size: - Approximate Length 48mm - Wing Span 68mm
 
Male: - The male (see above) has bright green eyes, except when it is immature when they are light brown tinged with green. The whole of the body is bottle green with a metallic bronze sheen. The thorax and abdominal segments 1 and 2 are obviously covered in bronze coloured hairs. The abdomen is significantly waisted at segment 3 expanding in the form of an indian club to its thickest at segment 7 and 8. Definitive diagnostic features require close examination: they are, the limited but rich saffron patches at the root of the wing, no yellow on the frons, the outward facing tips to the anal appendages and the diminutive broken yellow line crossing the upper surface of segment 2.

Female: - The females abdomen bulges at segment 2 (see below) but is not waisted. With the exception of the anal appendages all the diagnostic features are as the male. In comparison with the Brilliant Emerald dragonfly the Downy female has no conspicuous vulvar scale.

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Status: - This species has a well scattered distribution across the British Isles with distinct population clusters across Surrey and Hampshire, The New Forest and Dorset heaths. Nationally scarce but not a Red Data Book species.

Habitat: - Found mostly on still water bodies that are mildly acidic tending to neutral, large ponds and small lakes surrounded by trees, on heaths and bogs. On large water bodies it shows a preference for sheltered bays with abundant tall emergent vegetation; tree cover can be quite limited.

Flight period: - Mid May to late July.

General: - Males appear to have quite extensive territories. They patrol with rapid bursts of flight punctuated by short periods of hovering. They fly with their abdomen tilted slightly upwards, a posture they can adopt when at rest. They often clash with chasers and Emperor Dragonflies. Copulation is rarely observed, taking place in trees and bushes adjacent to the water body. Females egg-lay alone without a male being present and usually within the shallow, shadier marginal zones. She repeatedly dips the tip of her abdomen into the water while in flight, to release the eggs.

The narrative was kindly written and supplied by Ken Crick

All the features images were taken by and remain the property of Chris Brooks

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