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Dragonflies and Damselflies

What could be more typical of high summer than a dragonfly cruising endlessly over a pond on a hot day like a miniature helicopter, catching flying insects on the wing. Now is the time to see dragonflies and their smaller and more delicate relatives, the damselflies.

Dragonfly by Anne and Chris Algar

Dragonflies & Damselflies

Brett goes Damselfly hunting with Ingrid Twissell and speaks to Martin Wikelski who has attached tracking devices to Dragonflies.

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If you’ve ever dug your own garden pond, then the speed at which these insects arrive is a clue to their abilities to colonise. The range of many is truly international and here in the British Isles we’re often on the end of large influxes of some species from Continental Europe. Some are migrants, others wind-blown adventurers which can benefit from their new homes if climate and conditions are right.

Our latest most successful colonist is a Damselfly that turned up just 9 years ago in 1999 from the Netherlands and is now marching… or flying across the UK. To see it Brett joined Ingrid Twissell, the County Recorder for Dragonfly county recorders for Gloucestershire, at Nature in Art, a museum dedicated to art inspired by the natural world. Appropriately, it was in the grounds of the Museum that Ingrid made an exciting new discovery for her county.

Those green darners that Ingrid mentioned, have inspired scientists in America who’ve successfully managed to fit transmitters to them, yes, transmitters on Dragonflies. Brett caught up with Martin Wikelski who carried out his studies 2 years ago at Princeton university in New Jersey and who’s recently returned to his native Germany to continue his research into migrating species of both insects and birds at the University of Konstanz.

Further Reading:

Martin Wikelski's website

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