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Photographer's Note

Now, this is something I've been wanting to see for a very long time, and today it finally happened. A darter - probably a common darter (sympetrum striolatum) or a vagrant darter (sympetrum vulgatum) just out of its larvae shell. When they're still so young, they don't have much colouring to go by yet, and at least I cannot tell the difference. Maybe Robert Brown can, he's the expert. He also has a photo of a larvae shell, but of a somewhat bigger variety. With that photo he explains the procedure followed by a dragonfly coming out of its shell, so I'll refrain from repeating the entire litany ;-)
This young darter is still sitting beside its empty larvae shell, not yet capable of flying off. You can see the wings are still very fragile, they look like something made of soap bubbles ;-) The tail looks like it's hardening, though, some of the others I saw still had the swollen, almost see-through tails. When looking at the larvae shell, it's very hard to understand that only this morning the darter was still inside that tiny shell. The shell is only a little more than 1 cm long. The grown darter is about 36-40 mm long with a wingspan of 55-60 mm (vagrant darter) or 39-43 mm / 56-64 mm (common darter).
There were a good number of newly emerged darters on this spot, but only few of them were still sitting right next to their shells. However, as they're not able to move at this stage, I had plenty of time for taking photos, so I ended up filling an entire card and starting on the next. Afterwards came the hard job of deciding which one to post, and with the selection narrowed down to two, I then decided to post both - this one because it really shows the size difference, and the other (posted as WS) because that's the clearest shot of a larvae shell.
Treatment: Slight crop, saturation +10, Contrast +10, USM and resize.

Jeppe, RobBrown, mogens-j, blu, Michael_Gan, andybrook, RAP, PDP, axiotea has marked this note useful

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Additional Photos by Bente Feldballe (milloup) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 608 W: 65 N: 329] (1829)
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