Species of the Month - July 2011
This dragonfly is easy to recognise as it's the only species having a black abdomen with yellow bands and 2 yellow stripes forming a V on top of the thorax. It's a large and conspicuous creature, with females averaging 8.4 cm long and males 7.4 cm. Immature female Southern Hawkers (rare) can look similar but the ground colour of their abdomen is brown, not black, and the stripes on top of the thorax are almost parallel, not forming a V.
Male Golden-ringed Dragonflies are often seen patrolling burns. If one passes you while you're beside a burn it will probably come back again in the other direction shortly afterwards, and continue this pattern indefinitely. Females use their long ovipositor to lay eggs in mud or gravel at the edges of burns.
species may also be found well away from water, usually in moorland
habitats. Unlike most dragonfly species, they do not frequent
lochs, though may be seen where a burn enters a loch.
This picture shows an adult Golden-ringed just after emergence from its larval exuvia, which it is clinging to as it expands its wings and hardens its body.
This photo by Sallie shows a one eating a wasp.
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On 10 June Gordon Jack saw one on St Finan's Isle, Loch Shiel
On 12 July Sallie and Christine saw one by pools near Sligachan, Isle of Skye.
Also on 12 July, Gela spotted one on the Kilchrenan road near the start of the Loch Tromlee track.
On 14 July I saw a male in Glen Fyne, on a hillside, flying back and forth over a bit of dry sheep-track which may become a small burn after rain, but am not sure if this was true patrolling behaviour. It landed on vegetation several times, once in order to eat something, but I could not see what this was.
Also on 14 July Gela saw one flying over a vegetable patch at Kilchrenan.
On 16 July on the lnhg walk to Ardmaddy, Barbara spotted a Golden-ringed on coastal marsh vegetation. It only showed itself briefly then flew off.
On 18 July I saw a male at Dunollie. It landed on vegetation at the edge of a grassy path through bracken, stayed there for a while and then flew off over some marshy ground.
On 20 July Sallie found one in her sun lounge at Onich, flying at the windows trying to get out!
On 23 July I saw a male perched on a stone eating an insect where a burn enters Loch Tromlee, and then patrolling the burn, and a possibly different individual about 400 yds away hovering over boggy ground.
On 25 July Sallie saw one at Inchree near Onich.
Also on 25 July I saw males at 3 different places on Rannoch Moor patrolling strips of boggy burn.
On 26 July we saw a male, first spotted by Richard, on the midweek field trip to the cemetery loch near Oban.
1 Aug - thank you everyone
for the above sightings. These show that the GRD is as plentiful
as ever this year and has not been affected by the weather condtions
that have so reduced the numbers of butterflies and some other insects.
Note you can still send in records for past species of the month. Here is the list of species we've had so far: