Tuesday, 31 January 2017


Royal Tigertail Parasynthemis regina 

January has been hot and good for insects. Butterflies and grasshoppers are fluttering and hopping all over the place. And there are lots of dragonflies and damselflies about too. So, I have been educating myself by trying to identify some of the local species around Canberra. I can recognise about fifteen species so far, but I am very much indebted to Harvey Perkins for most of the initial identification of each species. He knows over fifty species in the region, and more nationwide, and more worldwide.

Royal Tigertail Parasynthemis regina 

I just love the way they tuck up their legs when flying, they look so cool.

Australian Emperor Anax papuensis

I have been taking photographs to grab shots of each species, for that is the only way I can look at the details of their colouring to identify them. That is OK when they are perched, although that is not as easy as it seems, but when they are flying I have to use the camera at high speed. There has to be enough light to allow shots to be taken at 1/8000 sec or more to freeze them in flight. I do not like using flash on wildlife. I don't like the effect and I don't like to stress animals.

Australian Emperor Anax papuensis

The ponds are busy with patrolling dragonflies and damselflies, and the females are busy laying eggs. This species lays its eggs deep in the water.

Black-faced Percher Diplacodes melanopsis female

They have very good eyesight, so careful watching of their behaviour and slow movement are required to stalk and photograph these quick flying insects.

Wandering Percher Diplacodes bipunctata male

Many of the dragonflies have been flying for a few weeks now, and some individuals are showing wear and tear. They only have the wings they emerge with, they do not regrow or fix themselves.

Tau Emerald Hemicordulia tau

When not hunting or patrolling for mates, they can be surprisingly secretive and difficult to see, often hiding under bushes.

Common Flatwing Austroargiolestes icteromelas

There are so many colours and forms, wonderful creatures.

Eastern Billabongfly Austroargrion watsoni

Bright blue on a bubble-mat of algae

Blue-spotted Hawker Adversaechna brevistyla

But above all, they are quick, very very quick.

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