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Last Saturday, at Kenfig National Nature Reserve, on a fungi foray with my friends from the Glamorgan Fungi Club, I saw my first dragonflies for the year, not one but two separate sightings of the Four-spotted Chaser (Libellula quadrimaculata), and what magnificent creatures they were!

160531 Four-spotted Chaser dragonfly (1)

Even if you don’t love dragonflies for the sheer beauty of their aeronautical design, which has remained unchanged for nigh on 300 million years (!), you’ve got to love them for the fact that the adults snack on mosquitoes, gnats and midges. Four-spotted chasers can usually be found from April to September around areas of standing water, typically ponds and small lakes, particularly those with lush vegetation. The males aggressively defend their territories, often favouring a prominent reed or stick near the water’s edge from which to launch their sorties against intruders and their foraging flights. Interesting fact: this dragonfly is the state insect of Alaska, where it’s known as the Four-spotted skimmer.

160531 Four-spotted Chaser dragonfly (2)