I had a few hours out yesterday where I wanted to see if I could find any dragonfly or damselfly larvae, ideally a few species I had not encountered yet but a nice sized Emperor Dragonfly larvae was the real target. After arriving in settled conditions and with various pots etc I started dipping around the margins. The water seemed to have warmed up from my last session and I hoped a few hawker larvae would be on the move. On my first net I caught what I believe is a Black tailed Skimmer nymph although I will have to look and do a bit of reading to confirm this but a photo session with this in the next few days will no doubt happen. In the next hour I caught c40 damselfly larvae, mostly Azure from what I could see and after a look at them, they were released back. Still no Emperor nymph but better was to come for as I pulled the net up near the end of the session I could see a hawker larvae hiding in the bottom and after taking it out and putting it into the tray, I could see this was no Emperor Dragonfly larvae as immediately I could see the shape of the eyes were completely different. Also very noticeable were the dark banding on the legs, a feature with the Brown Hawker. While I suspected this species I wanted to take it home to the tank to have a better look. I did a bit of reading later in the day and looking through 'A Field Guide to the Larvae and Exuviae of British Dragonflies'. There were a number of key features mentioned, the legs with distinct banding were very evident as were the pale marking on the side of the thorax which extend onto the back of the head. With these present I was happy that this was a Brown Hawker nymph although please correct me if I am wrong, the first I have seen. I set about getting a few images during the evening of this 25mm nymph although being quite dark, it provided a few challenges. I tried various settings without much joy, too dark or light, high and low ISO's but ended up working between f11 and 22! I ended up with a number of quite pleasing images, room for improvement I think here but a few key features are clearly visible. I will have another go today or later in the week and also a session with the probable Black tailed Skimmer. Always an education and there's always something to learn. A very worthwhile session.
Brown Hawker Nymph