The Daily Bucket–Why are the damselflies drinking with their butts?

But of course the damsel flies are not really drinking; they are laying eggs. They contort on the edge of a lily pad with their abdomen curved into the water seemingly under the lip of the pad. It’s called ovipositing.

I’d seen lots of damselflies joining at the end of their abdomens earlier this Summer, to mate.  The position is called “The Wheel” but the local name is “nookie.”

I have four ponds that are crowded with lily pads, and I take pride in removing the browning leaves so that new lily flowers may bloom.  Today I looked at the underside of a dying pad, before tossing it onto the compost heap.

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Forty square feet of lily pads.

Wow. Many leaf undersides bristled with items of interest to very few.  My attention riveted on several pinhead-sized pebbles, and a few micro-creatures also scurried about.  The Internet provided several stock photos indicating I was looking at dozens or hundreds of dragon or damsel-fly eggs.

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Apparently when I cleaned out lily pads I was tossing out many damsel or dragon fly eggs. 

I love dragon and damsel flies.  I want more and more of them. However in their lymph or nymphet  stage, they decimate my tadpoles.  So I am setting up a separate ecosystem for the dragon and damselflies. 

Now I am tossing the old lily pads into an aquarium, instead of a compost heap, so the eggs can hatch and the larva can grow. We’ll see if those are really eggs, and whose. 



If larvae, they can feed on the invasive brown snails that arrived on store-bought pond plants, and on aphids and mosquito larva.  The nymphets wiped out all the mosquito larva, and most of the snails, in the aquatic 30 gallon hospital, which was very pleasing. 

When I cleaned out my 30-gallon water plant hospital, I found about 40 dragonfly larvae and a handful of damselfly larvae.  Those were moved back into the aquatic plant hospital, which  will be dedicated to larvae, plants and snails only. 

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Probable damsel fly larvae.  Just hatched?

In other words, I’m dividing up the aquatic features in my yard as arbitrarily as the British divided up the Middle East a century ago.

The chorus frogs will unwillingly share two ponds with the nymphet/dragon and damselfly larva, and share one large pond with fish and nymphets, as few as possible, and avoid one large pond with large fish and nymphets. 

The fish share one large pond with the frogs and unapproved nymphets, and one large pond with the nymphets.

I’ll keep moving dragon/damselfly eggs out of other ponds and into the 30 gallon container.

The nymphets will have the 30 gallon container to themselves, and there’s no keeping them out of any other water body, via their egg-laying magical relations with wings.

The Heron will fish in any pond it wishes. All ponds limit other birds to bathing and drinking only. Non-heron birds are forbidden to consume any other pond creatures except bullfrogs.

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Mine!  Mine!  It’s all mine! (Ardea herodias; Great Blue Heron).

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/s/ Redwoodman