Common ones

On my last couple of photography trips I went specifically out for a special, rare dragonfly. It is always a good feeling to be able to find a rare dragonfly and take a good picture of it. However, the common ones can also be very nice. Today I went out to a small field just a couple of hundred meters of my new home. Last year I saw Scarlet Dragonflies there, but I hadn’t heard anything about them so far. When I came there, I immediately saw lots of Common Bluetails, one of the most common damselfly species in the Netherlands. I always like those delicate damselflies, no matter how common they are. It was already getting a bit colder, so they didn’t fly away immediately anymore. Common Bluetails have many different colour morphs, here two pictures of the “normal” one.

When I was getting close to one male, I noticed some small brown things underneath its abdomen. There are different stories about these mites. Some say they are parasites and suck their food from the damselfly. Others say they are just hitching a ride as they are way too small to penetrate the armour of the damselflies. Looking at the size of these, I tend to go for the last explanation.

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.

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