Insects In Flight

Friday, September 25th 2020

One of our frequent visitors, Andrew Gillings,  set himself the task of photographing a dragonfly in flight. This is quite a challenge as dragonflies are amongst the fastest and most manoeuvrable flying insects.

Hawker dragonflies have a top speed of about 36km/hour and damselflies about 10km/hour; they can flap their wings at about 30 beats per second.

As well as forward flight, dragonflies are able to fly sideways and backwards and to change both the direction and speed of flight rapidly.

The wings of dragonflies are not flat. Some parts of the wings are more flexible than others due to the arrangement of their wing-veins. This clever design allows the wing to twist and adapt its shape in flight.

Andrew watched two darters ovipositing (egg laying) and was fascinated as they appeared to flick an egg from a few inches above the water which created significant downwash on the surface. If you look carefully at the next picture you can actually see the egg landing!

Immediately after this shot, a Southern Hawker appeared from nowhere and seemed to attack them hitting them several times.  A Southern Hawker had already dropped what looked like a mayfly on a previous flypast so perhaps it saw them as an alternative dinner! This is not surprising as adult dragonflies prey on insects, especially small flies and larger species will also take butterflies and smaller dragonflies. The wings are bitten off and discarded, but the rest of the body is eaten.


Away from the water, Andrew decided to capture a less gruesome and more serene image of a Brimstone butterfly in flight. He was concentrating on the Brimstone so much that he only noticed a bee flying in formation when he put the pictures on his laptop!

Our thanks to Andrew for sharing these incredible photographs, he definitely achieved his goal!


(0) Comments:

There are no comments for this blog post yet. Why not start the discussion? - use the form below:


Leave a Comment:

Please complete this field, it's required. Your email address will not be displayed but it's required.

Your email address will not be displayed but it's required.

Remember my personal information

Notify me of follow-up comments?


Back to Top

Help Support Foxglove

Friends of Foxglove

The Friends of Foxglove Covert is for those individuals, families and organisations who would like to support the reserve through an annual membership subscription. Friends receive a regular newsletter and invitations to attend our various activities and social events.

More Details

Upcoming Events


Jubilee Trail

Friday 27th May 2022 | During Reserve Opening Times

A trail around the red route (wheelchair friendly) to find all things red, white and blue! Pick up a clue sheet from the Field Centre for only £1 and learn some amazing facts about British wildlife as you stroll around the reserve.

No need to book a place as this is a self guided activity. Please bring your own pencil. You can check your answers back at the centre.

The clues will be out for the duration of the Whitsun school holidays (North Yorkshire dates).



Butterflies and Moths Treasure Trail

Friday 22nd July 2022 | During Reserve Opening Times

Enjoy a walk around the red route (easy access trail) and find the clues to learn all about these wonderful insects. 

Pick up a clue sheet from the Field Centre for only £1 and check your answers at the end.

No booking required as this is a selg guided activity! Please remember to bring a pencil from home.

The clues will be out for the duration of the school summer holidays (North Yorkshire dates).



VIEW ALL EVENTS

Undergrowth Newsletter


Undergrowth Newsletter Autumn 2021 - Issue 56
{alt}

The reserve's newsletter for Autumn 2021.

Read this Issue



Undergrowth Newsletter Winter 2020/21 Issue 54
{alt}

Find out what has been going on at the reserve during the lockdown!

Read this Issue


View All The Newsletters

Recent Blog Posts

Blog Archive