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

The narrative was kindly written
 and supplied by
Mr Ken Crick

Scarce Chaser (Libellula fulva)

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 44mm - Wing Span 75mm.
Male: - Mature males (see above) have unique ice blue eyes. The thorax is a charcoal brown. The wing tips may carry a small smoky stain. Segments 1 & 2 of the abdomen are black, segments 3 to 7 are sky blue. Sexually active males will have a notable dark patch on segments 5 / 6 where the female’s legs have rubbed off the pruinescence. Segments 8 to 10 & the anal appendages are black as is the mask. In both sexes the suffusion of yellow in the wings leading edge cell structure and the smoky stain at the wing tip are variable features.

Female: - Females and young males are very similar. The eyes of both sexes may appear ice blue on the upper surface. Older females eyes darken towards dark brown. The mature females thorax is dull velvet brown, immatures are orange / brown. The chestnut brown root to each wing is much reduced when compared with those of the Broad Bodied Chaser. The veins on each wing towards the leading edge from the root to the node are bright yellow and the wing tips smoky brown stain, if present, is usually larger than that found on the male. The abdomen is orange, (darkening towards black with age) with a dark upper surface centre line stripe, that widens from segment 5 to 7 before narrowing slightly from segment 8 to 10.

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Status: - Rare in the British Isles. (Red Data Book Category 3) Populations exist in about 7 or 8 well dispersed regions all below a line drawn from the Bristol Channel to the Wash.

Habitat: - The slack regions of unpolluted, muddy, slow flowing small rivers, dykes and very mature flooded gravel pits. A prerequisite seems to be bank sides of tall dense emergent vegetation.

Flight period: - Mid May to late July.

General: - Males, though territorial, may be found in close proximity to one another in the late evening. Males often guard egg-laying females, mating having taken place hidden in the dense marginal vegetation. The female egg-lays while in flight, hovering over the same spot for some time, while dipping the tip of her abdomen every few seconds into the water.

The narrative was kindly written and supplied by Ken Crick

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

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