Sunday, 13 November 2016

Organisms In Our Garden - Damselfly


I was watching a grass snake hunting for a frog in my pond, when I saw a Damselfly resting on a reed.

What is it?

All damselfly's eat insects, including the nymphs. They nymphs are aquatic, living in all types of freshwater habitats including: Acid bogs, ponds,lakes and rivers. The males are often more brightly colored then females. When they mate, they form a 'heart' or a 'wheel' shape. Most species now are 7-8 cm, but a long time ago they were nearly a meter in length! The nymph will shed it's skin 8 to 16 times before turning in to an adult! There are about 2,600 species of damselfly's. They hunt for food in flight, looking for a tasty mosquito or spider. 


What do they eat?

Damselfly's will eat small, soft bodied insects such as: Aphids, mosquitoes, gnats and spiders. 
The nymphs will eat: Tadpoles and baby fish. I have seen this happen. The nymph had burrowed it's self in the sand, and was waiting for a small fish to come by. When it did, it grabbed it as fast as lighting, and pull it down it's burrow. It was incredible to watch.

What eats them?

Adult damselfly's have a lot of predators: Frogs, fish, bees, lizards, rodents, birds and even dragonfly's. 

I was watching a huge and beautiful dragonfly laying eggs, when a massive frog leaped out of some where and ate it. I was extremely angry at the frog!

The predators of nymphs are: Beetles, larger damselfly nymphs and fish.  

Life cycle

Female lay eggs in or near water, most likely on floating or underwater plants. Some species will go underwater completely to lay their eggs on a good surface! Out of the eggs a larvae called a nymph hatches. Most if it's life is underwater. This larvae stage may last from two months to three years! As it grows, it sheds it's skin. Then finally it will climb on a reed at night, the skin will split at a week spot behind the head and the adult damselfly crawls out. 

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