Insects

Damselflies mating, laying eggs in our pond – Life and behavior of the Damselfly

The female damselfly is laying her eggs.  Mating season for the Damselflies in our pond has begun. Just last week the nymphs emerged from the pond water to shed their skin and become colorless damselflies.  As the young damselfly matures it will gain a beautiful color. The adult damselfly only lives one to three months; its main job is to find a mate and continue the life cycle.

See the photo below of the damselflies mating.  It starts with the male damselfly grasping the female with his abdominal claspers.  The same species of damselfly with fit like a lock and key.

damselflies mating

Copulation can take from several minutes to several hours depending on the species.  The male damselfly stays in tandem with the female while she lays her eggs. I watched as the red damselfly gently carried his bride to an inviting lily-pad.

female looking for the water to lay eggs

This dedicated female damselfly, pictured above, was moving her abdomen every which way to try and find the water.

off they go to try again

If the female damselfly could not find water to lay her eggs she would straighten her abdomen as if to signal lift off to her partner.  The male Damselfly would gently lift her to another location.

double wedding for damselflies

Female damselflies normally use a bladelike ovipositor to place eggs inside plant tissue. From previous years I have seen the larva of the damselflies underneath the lily pads.  When you turn the lily pad over you will see lines and markings with the damselfly eggs.

injecting eggs under the lily pad

After about three weeks the young damselfly nymphs emerge and live underwater, insatiably feeding on small aquatic animals like tadpoles, mosquito larvae and just about anything it can get a hold of.

The damselfly and dragonfly nymphs are completely predatory, and not vegetarians at all.

As the female damselfly lays her eggs she is also supplying a healthy meal for our fish.  We have three large goldfish, some say Koi, that will feast on the nymphs all year.  During this mating season I do not have to add any fish food to the pond.

damselfly nymph

Many successive molts take place over a period of eleven months before the final nymphal stage is reached.  The mature dragonfly nymph crawls out of the water onto a rock or plant stem during the night or early morning hours.

The nymphal skin splits dorsally and the winged damselfly adult pulls itself out to become fully expanded.  It will take several days before it reaches top flight capacity.

Damselflies have been used as indicator species for assessing habitat and water quality in a variety of wetlands, natural water in forests, and lakeshore habitats around the world.  Studies indicate they are one of our most beneficial insects.

Do Damselflies sting?  No damselflies are not capable of stinging and are harmless to man.


Advertisements

2 replies »

  1. Really fascinating post. 😀 We don’t see many in our garden, but the river down the road is an excellent breeding place, as there are lots of little inlets.They may not sting, but I know someone who was bitten by a large one hiding in her fresh laundry! She had to be delivered into the emergency ward with respiratory problems and a huge swelling on her hand – the damselfly/dragonfly had clearly felt threatened and bit as hard as it could! I realise this is unusual, and I know they are not poisonous or agressive, but still worthy of respect!

    Like

We love your comments and questions!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s