Sunday, June 22, 2008

Maiden Flight

12.27pm: We found this recently emerged Southern Hawker in our pond today (22.6.08). Clinging to its exuvia with wings out, but still together over its back, and still no more than translucent. The whole body is still pale with just a ghost pattern and the abdomen is still bent.

13.53pm: After pumping fluids into its body and wings, the wings are now clear, the abdomen straight and the colour is starting to come into the hardening body. The wings are starting to come sligtly apart from each other.

14.04pm: The wings come apart for the first and final time (they will now stay apart for ever). The pattern of the adult hawker (apparently a female) is now starting to show quite clearly. The wings are shivering as the hawker warms up its muscles. Within a couple of minutes it was off on its maiden flight, settling in one of our apple trees.

14.07pm: All that's left is the exuvia, trailing the white linings of the breathing spiracles. It is unbelievable that the adult could have been packed into here. Note particularly the size of the wing cases and the relatively tiny eyes.

All photos Canon PowerShot A640.

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