One of my challenges this year was to try to photograph a Banded Demoiselle emerging and those following the blog will know that for the past 5 weeks, I have been monitoring a few nymphs that I collected and put into an outside tank which was made to replicate a small stream. I have spent the past few weeks getting up a few times each night, often in the early hours to take a look outside to see whether anything was happening. Other than missing one completely emerging a few weeks back, I have made it my mission to photograph this very rarely seen emergence and as far as I can see on the internet, there are no photos of the complete emergence so this has really inspired me to carry on the challenge, as well as being able to witness at first hand a superb part of nature in action. I have lost the odd nymph along the way and was becoming frustrated that they seemed ready to emerge but unable to start the process off but last week, I went out during the night and could see one individual on the surface starting to take in air. Rather than wake the family up each night by creaking the stairs as I walk down, I have slept downstairs on the sofa quite a few times and last night was no different but little did I know what was going to happen. I awoke this morning about 4am and went outside to see what was happening and to my delight, I could see a nymph starting to climb up one of the reeds. I decided to watch it from a distance as to not disturb it and made sure that I had everything near me I needed, should this by the time of emergence. A good hour past but eventually, I could see the nymph starting to thrust out its abdomen to see if there was enough clearance below. I was now quite excited that this could be what I have been waiting for a number of weeks and slowly got into position and set up the camera and tripod. More time past as it continually moved its legs to get a better grip and then it started to stay motionless for a short while until I could see the abdomen starting to break and then it happened. I spent the next hour or so photographing the whole sequence of a Banded Demoiselle emerging and what a treat it was. All the hours of lost sleep didn't seem to matter now as I rattled off shot after shot and spent time studying the emergence. Thankfully, this was an excellent emergence with no issues encountered which are always a worry and I hope I have ended up with a very pleasing and proud set of shots. Maybe the first complete set of an emergence by this species that people have seen. Its been a tough but in the end, very rewarding challenge but if you are prepared to learn a bit and persevere, the rewards are there to be had. Enjoy!
Emerging Banded Demoiselle (female)
Banded Demoiselle Exuviae