Sunday, 12 April 2015

A Moment in Time Captured!

After getting up this morning and having a cuppa and breakfast, I popped out to the pond about 8am to see that a Large Red Damselfly was already in position on one of the stems and ready to emerge. This time I didn't rush for the camera but just sat back and watched the action unfold before my eyes. It often takes some time for the nymph to get fully ready, their legs trying to bind on to the stem in the best way. After drying out and getting into a favourable position, there is a moment of  stillness where I assume the nymph is preparing to emerge. I have observed that prior to emergement, the tip of the abdomen is often moved around, sometimes quite violently and at times, you think its grip may be released but they seem to hang on. As the damselfly emerges you see the top of the thorax swelling and quite quickly the head appears and starts to rise up. As if to get his breath back and take in the view, the damselfly then spends the next few minutes stationary before the legs gain strength and he reaches back to the stem. Again there seems to be a short rest here before the abdomen fully appears and he is free and a damselfly at last. I have had a few people ask me what the white strings are on the exuvia that are left behind afterwards. I must admit for a while I didn't know myself but having read quite a lot in the past few months, they are the tracheal tubes that once transported oxygen. They remain attached to the exuvia and are pulled out as the thorax is exposed. At this stage the damselfly is still quite small, the wings are all crumpled up but during the next 30 minutes or so, the body pumps and the wings and abdomen grow in size, its impressive to watch. The colouration starts to darken on the thorax and head and after the big ordeal and resting up, they often make their maiden flight, hopefully to survive for a short while and find a mate to repeat the process all over again. I made a few more excursions to the pond during the day and eventually I had 4 Large Red Damselflies all resting up on the stems, having emerged. With the sun shining I took a few shots of one emerging and just wanted to see how much detail the Canon 7d can give in these close conditions. The results were very pleasing but I suppose its much easier in the comfort of your own home laying on flat grass with not much in the way and the fences sheltering the wind. I'm sure it will be a bit trickier soon as I hang out over some water up to my knees in windy conditions trying to get 'that' shot. Just one photo today, I like the detail in this shot and its a moment in time captured of the nymph transforming into the Large Red Damselfly. If you haven't ever seen an emergence, get down to some water soon and scan the margins, you will see a miracle performed in front of your eyes. 

Large Red Damselfly Emerging

6 comments:

  1. You must have the nerves of steel, and how long were you standing for? Absolutely stunning Marc.

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    1. Thankfully laying Bob, its a bit more comfortable that way but its nice to see the patience paying off.

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  2. These are as fascinating as ever. I look forward to the results of your labours.

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  3. Beautifully written piece, Marc, and the photograph is incredible.

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    1. Many thanks Lucy, much appreciated.

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