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The damselfly and the devil – not a combination I’d have thought of but this, from Paul Evans, Field Notes from the Edge: Journeys through Britain’s secret wilderness (Rider, London, 2015) is fascinating:

In her novel Precious Bane, Mary Webb … used a Shropshire name for damselfly, ether’s nild: the ether or adder’s nild or needle because of its shape and stitching flight. Country lore had it that damselflies hovered over an adder coiled in the heath or bog as lookouts for their venomous master or mistress … Elsewhere called the Devil’s darning-needle, naughty children, scolding women and swearing men were warned that the damselfly would come and sew their eyes and mouths shut if they did not mend their ways.

190715 blue-tailed damselfly

The damselflies in my images are both Blue-tailed damselflies (Ischnura elegans). The females come in five different colour variations – this, with the reddish thorax, is called rufescens.

190715 blue-tailed damselfly rufescens