The female damselfly is laying her eggs. Mating season for the Damselflies in our pond has begun. Just last week the nymphs emerged from the pond water to shed their skin and become colorless damselflies. As the young damselfly matures it will gain a beautiful color. The adult damselfly only lives one to three months; its main job is to find a mate and continue the life cycle.
See the photo below of the damselflies mating. It starts with the male damselfly grasping the female with his abdominal claspers. The same species of damselfly with fit like a lock and key.
Copulation can take from several minutes to several hours depending on the species. The male damselfly stays in tandem with the female while she lays her eggs. I watched as the red damselfly gently carried his bride to an inviting lily-pad.
This dedicated female damselfly, pictured above, was moving her abdomen every which way to try and find the water.
If the female damselfly could not find water to lay her eggs she would straighten her abdomen as if to signal lift off to her partner. The male Damselfly would gently lift her to another location.
Female damselflies normally use a bladelike ovipositor to place eggs inside plant tissue. From previous years I have seen the larva of the damselflies underneath the lily pads. When you turn the lily pad over you will see lines and markings with the damselfly eggs.
After about three weeks the young damselfly nymphs emerge and live underwater, insatiably feeding on small aquatic animals like tadpoles, mosquito larvae and just about anything it can get a hold of.
The damselfly and dragonfly nymphs are completely predatory, and not vegetarians at all.
As the female damselfly lays her eggs she is also supplying a healthy meal for our fish. We have three large goldfish, some say Koi, that will feast on the nymphs all year. During this mating season I do not have to add any fish food to the pond.
Many successive molts take place over a period of eleven months before the final nymphal stage is reached. The mature dragonfly nymph crawls out of the water onto a rock or plant stem during the night or early morning hours.
The nymphal skin splits dorsally and the winged damselfly adult pulls itself out to become fully expanded. It will take several days before it reaches top flight capacity.
Damselflies have been used as indicator species for assessing habitat and water quality in a variety of wetlands, natural water in forests, and lakeshore habitats around the world. Studies indicate they are one of our most beneficial insects.
Do Damselflies sting? No damselflies are not capable of stinging and are harmless to man.