Special dragonflies

Dark Bluet - Donkere Waterjuffer - Coenagrion armatum
A Dark Bluet, very rare in the Netherlands
Today I joined an excursion in search of the extremely rare Dark Bluet. In the morning, before the excursion started, we had a look in the neighborhood for other dragonflies. This worked out really well, finally I saw dragonflies in large numbers. As soon as we walked a little off the track, clouds of dragonflies took off, Four-spotted and Scarce Chasers, Downy Emeralds, and Green-eyed Hawkers were seen. This Scarce Chaser had bad luck and ended up in the web of a very happy spider. This must mean food for some time for him.
A little later Dolf found a just emerged Hairy Dragonfly. In this picture you can see he was still drying up. The drop of water at the end of its abdomen is one of the last drops he had to get rid of before he could fly away. I didn’t see it emerge from its last larval stage, but this was a nice substitute.
But of course, the aim for this day was the Dark Bluet. An extremely rare species of dragonfly that lives in a very vulnerable habitat, one of the first stages of succession of bogs. There is only one known population in the Netherlands. Under supervision of one of the rangers we were allowed to visit the place. The nice thing about rare dragonflies is that they can be locally quite common. So with this species too. Once we arrived on the spot we saw many individuals, I think I’ve seen at least 40! Taking pictures wasn’t too easy as they prefer to sit on straws in the water, and we were not allowed to enter the water. But with some luck one could find an individual (or in this case two) sitting on the dryer edges.

Arjen Drost

Arjen is a Polar ecologist, nature photographer and full time expedition guide on expedition cruise ships in both Polar regions. With his pictures and stories he likes to show the beauty of these very fragile and threatened places.