vendredi 10 juin 2016

Colourful demoiselles

On the sides of the Sant creek, the leaves of a chestnut-tree are used by a large number of damselflies couples to land under the sun. Damselflies have slender bodies than dragonflies and hold their wings over the body at rest.

The beautiful demoiselle (Calopteryx virgo) is a species of damselfly. It is often found along streams. It belongs to Odonata, an order of carnivorous insects, encompassing the dragonflies (Anisoptera) and the damselflies (Zygoptera), which has existed since the Triassic (250-200 Mio Years).

It covers all of Europe with the exception of the southwestern Iberian Peninsula, the Balearic Islands and Iceland.
Male and female are variable in color and pattern. The male, top of the picture, has translucent wings which each have a broad, dark iridescent blue-black spot (or band) across the outer part. The body can be a metallic blue or bluish green or a combination of both colors. The female has translucent, pale green iridescent wings with a white patch near the tip and a metallic green metallic bronze/green body.

Males are usually territorial, but large numbers can sometimes be found in lush bankside plants and on floating objects. They court females by opening their wings and performing an aerial dance. 

More than 300 million years ago, their ancestors were giant insects

Here is the banded demoiselle, closely related with the beautiful demoiselle but with only part of the wings deep blue:

 
All demoiselles species have an amazing life cycle:
 

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