Monday, 5 May 2008

damselflies and black ants

A pleasant morning to I decided to have my morning coffee in the garden and read a few pages. As I got up to go inside I noticed the sloughed remains of a damselfly larvae. When I took a closer look I noticed that the newly hatched adult was hanging onto the foliage lower down.

The adult damselfly was still quite pale, creamy looking, following hatching. The damselflyhad very good eyesight, and reacted to my presence by hiding behind the leaf, even though I was several feet away. I accidentaly disturbed another damselfly, which promptly flew upinto the air. The remains of its larval form was also visible on a nearby plant. I kept an eye on the damselfly during the morning. Throughout the morning it slowly became more colourful. I eventually identified it as a Large Red damselfly Pyrrhosoma nymphula. It eventually flew off into the garden at 12.15pm.

I did some more gardening, maninly clearing away ready for planting. Too many inverts to mention all. In particular; centipedes, spiders, small black beetle (too quick) a butterfly that also shot through to quick to identify. There appear to be several holly blue butterflies around. There have been at least a pair and a single flying around the tree at the end of our back neighbours garden. It is the only type of blue butterfly in the UK that may be observed in trees.

I did accidentally disturb an black ants nest on the rockery. One of the nursery chambers was beneath a rock I moved. Black ants often have nrsery chambers in such places as the rock warms up as it absorbs the heat of the sun. The larvae and cocoons are moved around the nest to keep them at the right temperature.

As I lifted the rock, ants poured out ready to meet the attacker (me). Another group of worker ants rushed to the larvae and proceded to carry them off underground. Ants have a warning chemical (as do wasps) that galvenises each other into action and makes them aggressive.

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