For day two of National Dragonfly Week we have another damselfly, the Large Red (Pyrrhosoma nymphula). Of the 20 species of damselfly found in Britain, there are only two that are red and the other, the Small Red, is rare and confined to specific heathland areas, so the chances are that if you see a mainly red damselfly (the females have varying amounts of red and black on their abdomens), it is the Large Red. If only all damselfly identification were so easy!
The Large Red is one of the first damselflies to appear each spring, flying from early to mid April through to September, and can be found throughout Britain wherever there’s fresh water – ponds, canals, lakes, boggy areas and slow-moving rivers (not fast) – with some vegetation around for it to perch on.
Mr Large Red can be quite aggressive, buzzing other males foolish enough to invade his territory. When they mate, the male clamps on to the female just behind her head, as you can see in my photo above, and she would normally then bend her body around to attach to his reproductive organs, thus forming the ‘mating wheel’. Maybe this female just wasn’t that into him!