What's the Difference?
Dragonflies are one of the most ancient groups of insects, appearing in the carboniferous period 3,000 million years ago. They can move their four wings independently and are the only insect which, as well as hovering, can fly backwards. Because of this they have long been studied by aeronautical engineers. Damselflies usually have thinner bodies and fold their wings along them when at rest. Dragonflies are generally larger and usually rest with outstretched wings.
A haven for nature
Of the 22 species found in Bedfordshire 19 have been recorded on Flitton Moor, including the first sighting in the county of the Willow Emerald damselfly. There are pictures of most of them here.
The scientific name for the Large Red Damselfly (Pyrrhosoma nymphula) translates as: “Flame-bodied water nymph.”
The Willow Emerald
The willow emerald damselfly was first recorded in Bedfordshire over the large pond on Flitton Moor. They are unusual as they do not mate on the wing like other damselflies but lay their eggs directly into willow branches overhanging water. We thought they had not bred at Flitton until recently they were discovered breeding over the small pond.