A few years ago in Kent, the Willow Emerald Damselfly was a very rare occurrence anywhere in the UK but the past few years have seen this Damselfly establish itself well in Kent at a few other sites in eastern England. It still remains however, a rare national damselfly in this country. With this in mind, I am very lucky to have a number of sites close to home and yesterday I spent a few hours at a site at Marshside counting the Willow Emerald Damselflies. I counted 38 in the session but was most pleased at finding 8 Willow Emerald Damselfly exuviae. Having spent a good deal of time throughout the winter time photographing dragonfly and damselfly nymphs and learning more about their life cycle, I have become very interested in this stage of their life and so as well as watching the adults, I am always on the lookout for any exuviae, the shed larval skin of the nymph that is left behind when the adult emerges. I didn't know how good my chances were going to be yesterday but after getting my eye in, I was able to find them, some still having the teneral Willow Emerald Damselfly still clinging on. I removed a few to bring home to photograph and other than the odd photograph on the internet and book I have, there does not seem to be that many photos of the Willow Emerald Damselfly exuviae, more of a reason to study and photograph them. One of the key features is the shorter more triangular shaped mask which can be seen in the photos and although most literature suggests the caudal lamellae lack dark bands, these clearly seem to have some banding on them. Although they seem to be doing well now and hopefully this trend will continue, I feel very privileged to have found and photographed the Willow Emerald Damselfly exuviae.
Willow Emerald Damselfly Exuviae