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Wetland insects

East Anglia is famous for its wetlands, with some of the best - the marshes, fens and lakes of the flat-bottomed river valleys of Broadland, including the Ted Ellis Nature Reserve and the RSPB reserve of Strumpshaw Fen - lying just to the east and north-east of Norwich.

All images are © Andrew Bourke.  If you would like to use one, please contact me (see e-mail address on Contact page). If you think I've made a mistake in any of the identifications, please also let me know.

Willow Emerald (Chalcolestes viridis), female; Rockland Broad, Norfolk, UK; September 2015.  This damselfly is a recent colonist of eastern England.  As is visible in this image, it can be distinguished from the similar Emerald and Scarce Emerald by the greater length of the 'spur' extending forwards from the lower border of the dark green/bronze upper part of the thoracic flank into the pale green lower part.

Willow Emerald (Chalcolestes viridis), tandem pair with egg-laying female (lower insect); Minsmere, Suffolk, UK; September 2015.  This photo was taken at a distance and so is not the sharpest, but it does show the trademark behaviour of this species of laying eggs into the bark of trees (in this case an Alder).  The male is holding on to the back of the female's head with his abdominal claspers while, remarkably, the female's body is completely bent double into a hairpin-like posture.

Azure Damselfly (Coenagrion puella), male; Ted Ellis Nature Reserve, Norfolk, UK; July 2010

Variable Damselfly (Coenagrion pulchellum), female, blue form; Strumpshaw Fen, Norfolk, UK; May 2015

Large Red Damselfly (Pyrrhosoma nymphula), male; Strumpshaw Fen, Norfolk, UK; May 2015

Norfolk Hawker (Aeshna isosceles); Strumpshaw Fen, Norfolk, UK; July 2016. This dragonfly is widespread in continental Europe but in the UK is an East Anglian speciality.

Migrant Hawker (Aeshna mixta); Blythburgh, Suffolk, UK; August 2010

Four-spotted Chaser (Libellula quadrimaculata); Lakenheath Fen RSPB Reserve, Suffolk, UK; May 2016

Ruddy Darter (Sympetrum sanguineum), male; North Warren RSPB Reserve, Suffolk, UK; August 2008

Short-winged Conehead (Conocephalus dorsalis), female; Minsmere, Suffolk, UK; September 2013

Short-winged Conehead (Conocephalus dorsalis), male; Minsmere, Suffolk, UK; September 2013

Roesel's Bush-cricket (Metrioptera roeselii), short-winged form, female; Minsmere, Suffolk, UK; September 2015

Dark Bush-cricket (Pholidoptera griseoaptera), male; Strumpshaw Fen, Norfolk, UK; September 2013

Brimstone (Gonepteryx rhamni), male, on Yellow Flag (Iris pseudacorus); Ted Ellis Nature Reserve, Norfolk, UK; June 2008

Small Tortoiseshell (Aglais urticae) on Creeping Thistle (Cirsium arvense); Strumpshaw Fen, Norfolk, UK; June 2009

Peacock (Inachis io) on Buddleia (Buddleja davidii); Minsmere, Suffolk, UK; July 2009

Peacock (Inachis io), caterpillar, on Stinging Nettle (Urtica dioica); Strumpshaw Fen, Norfolk, UK; June 2009

Ringlet (Aphantopus hyperantus), male; Caistor St Edmund, Norfolk, UK; July 2008

Figwort Sawfly (Tenthredo scrophulariae); Minsmere, Suffolk, UK; August 2008.  To me this sawfly appears to be mimicking a polistine wasp, which is intriguing because polistine wasps are almost entirely absent from the UK.