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18 Jul 2018

Rearing Damselflies – a successful first for WWT Slimbridge!

As part of our ground-breaking new Slimbridge2020 project HLF project, we will be exhibiting invertebrates and other wetland species including many of our native dragonflies and damselflies. Over the last few months, we have begun putting this into action and have trialled rearing two common species of damselfly nymphs – the azure and the blue-tailed damselflies – commonly seen throughout the UK around most wetland habitats.

Male blue-tailed damselfly (above)

Male azure damselfly (above)

This month we have witnessed the successful metamorphosis of these nymphs into damselflies and consequent breeding by the blue-tailed damselflies. The azure damselflies hatched out earlier than expected before the enclosure was created and so breeding did not seem to occur, whereas the blue-tailed damselflies have been witnessed breeding.

Mating blue-tailed damselflies (above)

We are excited to now be in a position to demonstrate the entire life cycle of damselflies from the larvae stage underwater through to adult stage, and we hope to share this with visitors as part of the Slimbridge 2020 Living Wetland Theatre experience.

As well as damselflies we will begin a new trial rearing the nymphs of emperor dragonflies and hairy dragonflies and hope to integrate them as well in the LWT wetland habitat enclosures. Currently, we are also trialling the rearing of diving beetle nymphs – so watch this space for more updates!