Tag Archives: dragonflies

Houghton Regis Chalk Pit

A 100 acre former quarry, now home to rare wildlife and habitats. The Wildlife Trust is managing The Chalk Pit as a nature reserve, The Chalk Pit holds many different habitats, including chalk grassland, a limestone lake, broadleaved woodland and wetland.

Wild orchids can be found, as can the Chiltern Gentian. Migrant birds arrive here to breed, such as the rare Turtle Dove. Summer brings butterflies including the Chalk Hill Blue. Great crested newts and dragonflies can also be found here in abundance, attracted to the pools and streams.

Dragonflies under the microscope: 21st February 2015

Larva ClassroomAn interested group of about 20 gathered at Jordans Mill to listen to Steve Cham gives us an introduction to dragonfly and damselfly larvae, including a few pointers to help to identify them. As well as a slide presentation, Steve came armed with his collection of exuviae for each of us to hold and to take a closer look at under microscopes.

Larva Classroom 2Dragonflies eggs hatch into larvae which live underwater for up to 5 years and are fierce predators, even taking small fish like sticklebacks. Steve explained that an exuvia [plural: exuviae] is the skin left behind after an adult dragonfly has emerged and flown, so they look just like the larva in its last stage of development.

A Closer LookSteve’s talk generated a lively discussion after which we had the opportunity to examine a few exuviae under the microscopes provided.