13 June 2008

Damsels, Dragons, Nelson and Napoleon

 Damselfly with green body and blue end of tail

The photo above shows (if you look closely!) a damselfly on the grass above the surface of the pond, with three tadpoles lurking under the water, two of which have now got legs and spots. Both ponds are busy now with damson- and dragonflies - here is a photo of a dragonfly which was happy to pose for me:

Black dragonfly with yellow spot

There was a more interesting blue-coloured one with stripy wings flying to and fro which I could only get this blurry shot of:

Blue dragonfly, flying

I can see how people get enthusiastic about these creatures - they're really beautiful. They have wonderful names too: Turquoise-tipped Darner, Black-shouldered Spinyleg, Orange Shadowdragon and Glistening Demoiselle, for example. Although the latter really belongs in the Moulin Rouge, I think.

The difference between a damselfly and a dragonfly is (I've just discovered) in the way they hold their wings when they're resting. Which immediately brought to my mind the distinction between Nelson and Napoleon, as described in W. C. Sellar and R. J. Yeatman's 1066 and All That (the best history book ever written):

Napoleon ought never to be confused with Nelson, in spite of their hats being so alike; they can most easily be distinguished from one another by the fact that Nelson always stood with his arm like this, while Napoleon always stood with his arms like that.


Amy said...

Great pictures. What fun to have a pond nearby with so many interesting creatures to observe. Are the ponds part of your property?

DP Nguyen said...

I agree. Great pictures. I never realized how pretty dragonflies can be.

Amanda said...

Thanks Amy & DP. The small pond (rapidly drying up now) is just behind our house and the larger one, which is fed by a spring, is about a quarter of a mile further back. I spent an hour yesterday afternoon shipping tadpoles from one pond to the other as I was worried they'd die as the small pond dries out!