A dragonfly has been spotted by Everything Dinosaur team members on a small patch of grass next to a drainage ditch outside the company’s warehouse. This is the first time that a dragonfly has been seen in the vicinity of the Everything Dinosaur warehouse. There is a small area of grass next to a drainage ditch and we suspect the dragonfly, possibly a male Common darter (Sympetrum striolatum) emerged from the ditch during the recent hot weather. Our litter picking and tidying up of this small body of water outside our warehouse is paying dividends.

Dragonfly spotted in grassland.
Can you spot the dragonfly? Picture credit: Everything Dinosaur.

A Haven for Wildlife

The ditch is a haven for wildlife, and we have spotted several different species of water snails including the Great Pond Snail (Lymnaea stagnalis) and the Great Ramshorn (Planorbarius corneus). There are also small fish – we suspect Stickleback (Gasterosteidae family). There may also be frogs and newts, although we have not observed any amphibians to date, although we were visited by a young Mallard duck a few weeks ago.

Photographing the dragonfly was tricky, we could not get that close to our subject, but we tried our best.

A view of the dragonfly spotted in the grassland
A close-up view of the dragonfly. We think this might be an immature male Common darter (Sympetrum striolatum). Picture credit: Everything Dinosaur.

A spokesperson from Everything Dinosaur commented that it was always exciting to see a dragonfly. Due to loss of habitat and pollution, these magnificent insects are under threat in many parts of the UK. The earliest dragonfly fossils are known from the Carboniferous. Some of these Carboniferous forms (Meganisoptera order) were huge with wingspans in excess of sixty centimetres. Extant dragonflies (Odonata) are distantly related to these ancient, winged insects, the Odonata lineage may have evolved in the Late Permian.

A view of the dragonfly by an Everything Dinosaur team member.
A close-up view of the dragonfly spotted outside the Everything Dinosaur warehouse.

Spotting Dragonflies

The office pond has also produced dragonflies, although no Common darters. As the mature nymphs emerge from the pond, they climb up plant stems and prepare to shed their external skeletons and emerge as winged adults (Ecdysis).

Team members have already spotted several exuviae (shed exoskeletons) around the pond.

Dragonfly spotted around the office pond.
A dragonfly that has just emerged from Everything Dinosaur’s office pond. This picture shows a Southern Hawker (Aeshna cyanea) – we think. The photograph was taken in 2020. Picture credit: Everything Dinosaur.

Let’s hope we see a few more dragonflies before the end of summer.

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