Monday Moment in Mayo – Damselflies


This beautiful jewel coloured insect, immediately caught my attention as it flew by over head to land a few feet away, while I was doing some gardening, just before lunch today. So there was a mad rush inside to get my camera and luckily it stayed around for a feverish camera shoot and my side.

It is an aquatic insect of the insect Order Odonata. Odonata are classified in two sub-orders, the Anisoptera (Dragonfly) and the Zygoptera (Damselfly). The adult Anisoptera, “true dragonflies” are characterised by having dissimilar hind and fore wings which, at rest are held out flat and large compound eyes which occupy most of the head. However my beauty is the smaller, more delicate, damselfly of the sub-order Zygoptera which has smaller, widely separated eyes on the side of the head and similarly shaped fore and hind wings which are held folded above the body when the insect is resting.

This little metallic blue-green beauty is called Calopteryx splendens or Banded Demoiselle it is a resident species and is one of the largest of the Irish damselflies.

Today I saw the dragon-fly
Come from the wells where he did lie.
An inner impulse rent the veil
Of his old husk: from head to tail
Came out clear plates of sapphire mail.
He dried his wings: like gauze they grew;
Thro’ crofts and pastures wet with dew
A living flash of light he flew.

By Alfred Lord Tennyson


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