Damsels not in distress

Posted: 22nd August, 2018

WWT Slimbridge is celebrating being possibly the first zoo to successfully rear azure and blue-tailed nymphs into damselflies.

Over the last few months, Jay Redbond, the Living Collections Supervisor has trialled rearing the nymphs which are commonly seen throughout the UK in wetland habitats.

Behind the scenes at WWT Slimbridge the azure damselflies hatched out earlier than expected, before their enclosure was fully completed but the blue-tailed damselflies were right on time and have been seen breeding. In the coming months there is the possibility of seeing nymphs emerge from eggs laid by these blue-tailed damselflies.

Jay commented: “When I looked into previous work done in this area, I was unable to find a huge amount of prior success, and so I feel really pleased with the outcome of this particular trial which means we can share the fascinating life stages of these creatures with visitors.”

The trial is part of a long term plan to exhibit the full life cycle of native invertebrates, from the underwater larvae through to adult, to visitors of the new Slimbridge 2020 Living Wetland Theatre, a Heritage Lottery Fund project.

As well as damselflies WWT Slimbridge are trialling rearing the nymphs of dragonflies and diving beetles and hope to integrate them into the Living Wetland Theatre habitat enclosures.

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