Zootz the Dragonfly tootin' his horn

David Clarke

Joined March 2009

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This Broad-bodied Chaser was one cool dude, treating me to a few bars on his dragonfly-sized sax… or maybe it was just the effect of the sun on a hot afternoon – I’m sure I heard some sweet music.
A common enough dragonfly around Europe, the Broad-bodied Chaser (Libellula depressa) is a territorial fellow – this one was a male who seems to enjoy the ambience around our pool.
According to Mr Wiki, Zootz is a member of one of the most common dragonfly families in Europe and central Asia. ‘It is very distinctive with a very broad flattened abdomen, 4 wing patches and, in the male, the abdomen becomes pruinose blue.
The male and female have a broad, flattened abdomen which is brown with yellow patches down the sides. In the male the abdomen develops a blue pruinosity which covers the brown colour. Both fore and hind wings have a dark patch at the base. Both the male and female have broad antehumeral stripes. L. depressa is very distinctive and should not be confused with any other dragonflies in the region.
The flight period is from April to September but are mostly seen in May and June. Their flight is very fast as they dart and dive above the water. They are very territorial and will fight with rival males and any other dragonflies they happen to encounter. They characteristically return to a favoured perch, in the sun. When a female enters a male’s territory the male will fly up and grab the female. Mating occurs on the wing and the pair are in tandem for only a brief period, often less than a minute. The pair separate and the female will find a suitable location for ovipositing, usually a stretch of open water with submerged vegetation. The female oviposits in flight, hovering above the water and dipping the tip of her abdomen in. The eggs hatch in 4 or 5 weeks and the larvae take one to two years to develop. The larvae live amongst the aquatic vegetation at the bottom of the pond but not buried in mud like some other species of dragonfly. After emergence the adults move away from water and undergo a period of maturation which lasts 10 to 14 days.’
Mr Wiki is, however, silent on their musical abilities.

Canon EOS 40D with Canon 300mm f2.8L IS lens; ISO 400 f5 1/2000

Image cropped and tweaked in Lightroom.

Photo taken at Le Gupole, Tuscany, Italy, May 2010

Uploaded 2 June 2010
Number of views on 25 November 2011: 124

Best viewed large if you want to see detail of the sax!

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Artwork Comments

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