|O. cancellatum - a male basking|
|A male O. coerulescens|
In both species, females entering a male's territory may be quickly seized - in O. cancellatum, mating usually takes no more than 30 seconds (and may occur without landing), while in O. coerulescens, the process (involving a mating wheel) may take anywhere from a few minutes to over an hour. In both species, egg-laying (oviposition) behaviour depends to some extent on the density of males and the resulting levels of 'harassment' the female may experience (females can be seen waiting for an opportunity to lay eggs unmolested!).
O. cancellatum is found throughout much of the southern half of England and has extended its range northwards in recent decades (at least as far as Durham) following creation of wetlands from flooded mineral and peat extraction sites. O. coerulescens has a more south-westerly distribution being most widespread in Ireland, west Wales and Cornwall/Devon, but is found at a scattered range of sites elsewhere in the country and can colonise new sites quickly - a useful ability given the losses of some areas of its wet heathland habitat due to development and peat extraction.
So, only a brief taster of the species found at Hatchet Pond - more to come, including patrolling Emperors and a few rather more uncommon species...
Brooks, S. (2004). Field Guide to the Dragonflies and Damselflies of Great Britain and Ireland (revised edition). BWP, Gillingham.
Smallshire, D. & Swash, A. (2004). Britain's Dragonflies. WILDGuides, Old Basing.