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Ruddy Darter (recently emerged)
Comments(3) # Ruddy Darter (recently emerged) london e17

I'd been worrying about the lack of any Dragons apart from the Broad Bodied Chasers around here. Then all of a sudden last week the air around my favourite local pond was full with freshly emerged Ruddy Darters. They were fluttering and blundering around rather than darting at this stage but I'm sure that within a day or two they'll be living up to their name. Both male and female are yellow at emergence but the males gain the Red colour that gives the species its name within a week or so. Like the Chasers they like to find a perch on which to sit and watch out for their prey. Upon spotting a likely inect they dart out and then return to their perch to consume the meal (unlike some of the larger Dragons that eat whilst flying). Like the Chasers they can also be approached relatively easily and the habit of sticking to one favoured perch makes photography comparitively easy. The wings are usually swept forward when at rest as in the photo, another characteristic of the Darters. They do all seem to be very small this year, not much more than an inch or so long....another effect of last summer's drought i wonder? This is a species where some of the eggs can hatch immediately after laying but some the following spring so perhaps, like the Emerald Damselflies, what we are seeing here is ones that hatched this spring after the pond was once again full of water. This would mean a reduced feeding time for the larvae before emergence and hence the smaller size than I usally see at this pond. Canon EOS 5D
150 mm
100 ISO
1/200 sec
f 16
Flash: Fired