These large red damselflies are one of the first dragonfly creatures to emerge near the pond in Spring. Remarkably they spend around two years as an underwater nymph, clinging to submerged vegetation and eating small passing creatures before they transform from the exuvia stage and leave the water. They emerge as adults when the weather begins to warm and daylight hours extend. It’s thought they’re susceptible to global warming as they’re present in mainland Europe almost a month earlier now than would previously have been the case.
These damselflies are easy to identify due to their bright red colour. They tend to frequent the same places year after year and the males can be territorial (attacking other types of damselfly and pushing them to the ground or into the water). The large red damselfly spends most of its life as a rather ordinary-looking browny-green larva; it lives for just around a month in its more eye-catching flight-capable form.
These creatures are seasonal and their presence as graceful, brightly coloured adult visitors is limited. They begin to disappear during mid-late August and by September they’re usually all gone, a sure sign that another Autumn is on the way.