Saturday, 4 October 2014

Tank Trials Begin

After posting a few Hawker larvae shots from yesterday and asking for help on their identification, the first 3 shots from yesterdays post, I had a few discussions with people and we have agreed that it is an Emperor Dragonfly larvae. The more rounded head and large eyes which are not as bulbous as the other Hawkers pointed us in the right direction. As mentioned yesterday I took along my plastic fish tank, about 20cm in width and 30cm in length. The kids often catch stuff in it when they are pond dipping. The aim was to catch a few Hawker larvae and putting a stick right up again the side at an angle, I hoped a few larvae would climb up the stick and allow me to grab a few shots. A few early mistakes I made was not cleaning the tank that well and filling it with water which was not that clear, easy mistakes which I will sort out for tomorrows session hopefully. I soon had about 5 Hawker larvae of different sizes in the tank and they all literally went for the stick and spent most of their time clinging to it upside down. It was interesting watching their behaviour and a good insight into how they hunt. They all made very slow movements whilst climbing up and down the stick and the Hairy Dragonfly larvae in particular, when another larvae got to near would swing its abdomen from side to side in a frantic manner. Eventually they moved off at speed, there not torpedo shaped for nothing leaving me to photograph a few larvae. I set up using the camera and Sigma 150mm lens on a tripod with the camera about 30cm from the plastic side of the tank. I was able to grab a few usable images and no doubt they would be better if the sides had been cleaned properly and the water clearer. Glass would be much better than plastic but iv'e got to start somewhere.  If anyone reading has some useful advise on this type of photography I would very much appreciate some help and tips on how to improve. Hopefully back for another go in the morning to see if I can rectify some mistakes and get a few decent shots.

Emperor Dragonfly Larvae

Hairy Dragonfly Larvae


  1. all fascinating stuff Marc, look forward to the next installment :-)

  2. i would not bother marc carry on birding

  3. WOW-WOW!
    This is fantastic stuff Marc!
    Something none of us on Dragonfly World has ever tried as far as know.
    If you have a minute to copy/paste these posts, I would be very thankful :)
    I can see how deep in the subject you already are!
    Larva stage is about 1/5th of a dragonfly life so I guess it is all the more important to bend on this part of it.
    I have not witnessed often their hunting ways and I am curious to discover what footage will come up with soon!