Sunday, 19 October 2014

Some More Nymph Dilemma's

I spent about an hour near Reculver this morning seeing what dragonfly and damselfly larvae I could catch. I caught a number of damselfly larvae, probably Blue tailed Damselfly although trying to identify something so small is quite a challenge. I also caught what I believe is either a Common or Ruddy Darter, more than likely Common. The legs extending well beyond the abdomen and the head tapering in towards the rear point me to this conclusion. It was only about 5mm long, a very tricky subject to photograph and get much detail on.

Common / Ruddy Darter Nymph?

The other find I think maybe a Black tailed Skimmer, about 10mm in length, the main reason leading me to this being the rectangular shaped head as viewed from above. I took a few photos of them both and hope someone can confirm what they are.

Black tailed Skimmer Nymph?

The Darter even deciding to photo bomb one attempt as I was taking a shot of the Skimmer, a nice comparison though in size and body shape etc.

Common / Ruddy Darter & Black tailed Skimmer?

Its tricky work but thoroughly enjoyable, learning hopefully all the time. Depending on the weather I shall hopefully be out in the week, a few pond sessions at Nethergong are on the cards with my eldest daughter seemingly quite good at catching them, good for me though as it gives me more time to set up and take photos.


  1. I wonder why their is such a size difference between the nymphs ? The adults of these species aren't all that different in size ?

    1. Presumably the Skimmer is much more advanced in age compared to the Darter?

  2. Marc ,
    I would say your IDs are correct , but couldn't confirm Ruddy or Common Darter as lateral spines on segment 9 not visible .
    The dark spots on the BTS match well those on exuvia of the species that I have .
    Both specimens are early instars .
    You say the Darter was 5mm. , the exuvia I have for both Ruddy and Common are 15mm.
    The BTS you estimated at 10mm , my exuvia are 25mm. , so both have much growing to do .
    Length of fully grown larvae/exuvia is never mentioned in books that I have seen , so you might find the list below helpful .
    Emperor 50mm. Sthn.Hawker 42mm. Brown Hawker 45mm. Mig.Hawker 35mm. Hairy Dgfly. 35mm.
    BBChaser 22mm. 4SChaser 22mm.

    1. Greenie. Thats really helpful. Nice to know at least i'm going in the right direction with all this. I find it all really fascinating.

  3. Your IDs are really excellent, superb shooting.