Finch Foundry’s dragonfly mystery

At the end of June Ben our Foundry Manager at Finch Foundry photographed the following picture.

finch golden ringed
You need to get your eye in – there is a large dragonfly and it looks like it has just caught a brown smaller insect. Well – what has happened is the dragonfly has just emerged from the ‘brown insect’ after having lived in the stream for around 3 years as a larvae! The dragonfly isn’t very brightly coloured yet as it has only just emerged and is ‘blowing’ itself up.

exuviae 1
Ben collected the ‘brown insect’ for me. It is called an exuviae – the vacated exoskeleton on the dragonfly larvae

exuviae 2
It is now entirely hollow as the dragonfly has emerged but as you can see it bears all the features if the larvae – look at the jaws – dragonfly larvae are very active predators

exuviae 3
The close us detail even shows the hairs on the legs

Golden ringed dragonfly 1Once the dragonfly has had a chance to ‘blow itself’ up its wings become extended and the colours develop. This is another dragonfly of the same species – this one taken last year at Lydford Gorge. It is a golden ringed dragonfly which is one of Dartmoor’s classic species.

Finch Foundry is in Sticklepath on the northern edge of the moor – it is the last working water powered forge in England and is the doorway to Dartmoor’s industrial past. Visit Finch Foundry to experience the sights, sounds and smells of three thundering water wheels powering massive hammers, shears and sharpening stone. These fuelled one of the South West’s most successful edge tool factories which, at its peak, produced around 400 edge tools a day. You can get an insight into the life of workers in the 19th century and learn about the enterprising Finch family. More details here – well worth a visit and of course there is interesting wildlife to see and a lovely little garden – see here.

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