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Winter Damselfly Sympecma fusca

The Winter Damselfly is a weird damselfly. Measuring 25 to 30 mm it is quite small. Compared to most other damselflies it is a dull kind of brown in stead of being a colourful creature. In rest the wings are hold tight to the body in stead of spreading them out or putting them up. And when they are resting they seemingly have one pterostigma only, for it is at the same position on both wings. And it is one of only two European species overwintering when adult.

Fresh new adults appear in August and are on the wing in August and September mainly. After this period the animals go into hibernation, usually on heath where they are hard to find. In mild winters they are seen again in March, but usually they appear again in April and May. They mate and the females deposit their eggs in floating rotting vegetation. She uses her drill to make little holes in shoots and deposits one egg in each hole. During this time the animals are usually in a tandem position. It takes the larvae only two months to complete their development, which is an unusually short period for damselflies. In Southern Europe there may be two breeds a year.

This species is rare in Belgium and uncommon in the Netherlands. Recorded from Britain only once (2008, in Tonna, near Neath, South Wales). So this can be called a non-British species. A common species in Southern Europe and Northern Africa.