|Thick black markings all the way along the abdomen confirm|
this as a melanotum form female, unlike other forms they retain the
yellow antehumeral stripes as they mature.
|This female is of the second uncommon form fulvipes, but I tend to|
see quite a few of this form locally
|A male, note the much thinner abdomen compared to female|
|Another male, and like the others, still in immature colours|
when fully mature the antehumeral stripes will be as red as the abdomen
|This male stayed still for a close-up|
|And closer still|
|Azure damsel male now fully mature|
|And an immature specimen of the same species|
There were also quite a few of these colourful froghoppers around, one of the more spectacular looking species so worth a photograph.
|Unlike other less colourful species of froghopper the larval stage is|
spent underground, though still surrounded by frothy 'cuckoo-spit'
which interestingly is made up of thousands of tiny fart bubbles :-O
The Octagon Pond was devoid of damsels bar one imm. female azure hiding in the undergrowth, and the walled garden pond was disappointingly empty as well.
So here we are at the end of May in what has been a very poor first month of Odonata spotting. 5 species on the wing in Gateshead so far, but all in very small numbers. I've still only seen two, but Rob (Gatesheadandbeyond) has had 4-spot chaser, common and blue-tailed damsels at Kibblesworth. Large red damsel has also been seen at Burdon Moor, and George found his first azure damsel at Shibdon Pond only yesterday.
The first recorded Large Red (May 28th) was a full 20 days later than the first recorded last year. The forecast is for a vast improvement in the weather from midweek, so hopefully things will quickly move on.
Finding that melanotum female large red is the undoubted highlight of the month, as it's only taken five years to get one :-)
Next week I'll be going for blue-tailed damsels at my favourite site for them, which will also hopefully bring common blue and with any luck a banded demoiselle, but I'm not holding my breath on the latter :-)