Whilst clearing out the pond yesterday, I spotted this beauty… newly emerged and drying off. It was very close to the pond surface, so hard to see initially. I came back a little later and it took off, flying up and landing in the hedge to continue the drying and hardening period.
Dragonflies spend two years in the pond as a larvae known as a nymph. They are voracious hunters, capturing tadpoles and other food with an extension of the lower jaw, impaling the prey on a pair of hooks. When ready to emerge, they crawl up a reed or leaves and the skin splits. Their bodies and wings are very soft after emerging and it can take several hours for them to dry and harden.
I gently placed my finger under this individual and for a few minutes, it sat on my finger… a truly stunning insect! I just love dragonflies!