The timing of natural events, or “phenology,” is something worth noting.
Take the pond damselfly in this photograph. These delicate, light-brown damselflies arrive each year in our yard in August and September.
We found them in August 2012 and
in the September of 2011.
It is likely the adult emergence coincides with the summer rains we usually get in July and August. The humidity rises, plants start to grow again, and more insects of many kinds are active.
Interestingly, the brown damselflies we see each year are probably females because the males are often bright blue or violet.
What insects do you see at the same time year after year?
Have you ever wondered how nature photographers capture such wonderful shots of flighty insects?
Take damselflies like this one. Damselflies, and their relatives the dragonflies, are fast, strong fliers. How do you ever catch one sitting still enough for a photograph?
It helps to know the damselfly’s behavior. For example, this damselfly was not exactly sitting still, although it looks like it from the photograph. What it is doing is perching, waiting for a fly or some other potential food item to fly by. See those big eyes? When it spots something, it launches into the air and grabs the prey. The beauty is that these insects often return to the same exact perch to hunt again and again. With patience, you can set up your tripod and grab a good shot of an active insect in a moment of stillness.
For those who want to learn more:
1. This delicate insect is a damselfly. It is perched, actively hunting other small insects.
2. It was jumping off the perch, grabbing an insect and then returning to the same position. In this photograph it’s wings are down. It is watching. Look at the wings in 1 and 3. I caught a photograph just as it was landing (1) and taking off (3). The wings are elevated, ready to fly.
3. Do you notice that it is brown on brown leaves? There were other objects to perch on in the area, but most were green.I wonder if this predator takes advantage of disguises like the crab spiders from last week. What do you think?
San Diego Zoo information page