Paul Wheeler

Paul Wheeler

Posted on 06/03/2013


Photo taken on May 31, 2013


See also...

Dragons and Damsels Dragons and Damsels


Dragonflies and Damselflies Dragonflies and Damselflies


British Wildlife British Wildlife



Keywords

nature
UK
Red
Large
Pyrrhosoma
nymphula
Damselfly
Hydrachnida
phoresy
mites
odonata
water
female
wildlife
devon
close-up
british
britain
dartmoor
phoresis


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Damselfly with Hitchhikers

Damselfly with Hitchhikers
If you look closely at this female Large Red Damselfly (Pyrrhosoma nymphula) you would be mistaken if you thought those little spheres where eggs. Instead, they are Hydrachnida water mites, and they use the damselfly for transportation in an ecological process called phoresy (using another organism to move about).

The water mites attach to the damselfly larva during the damselfly's aquatic stage. The tiny mites then transfer to the adult damselfly when it exits the water and emerges from its larval casing. The mites travel with the damselfly, eventually detaching from it as it becomes sexually mature and returns to water to breed. Then the water mites drop off and begin their life cycle all over again, perhaps in a new totally new location.

The mites do also obtain moisture and nutrients from the damselfly, but normally this doesn't seem to effect them too much, and they still feed and reproduce OK.

Isn't nature fascinating!!

Tricia Gibson, MaL, Rita Hart and 2 other people have particularly liked this photo


Comments
Tricia Gibson
Tricia Gibson
Fabulous - and thanks for the info,
I saw some the other year on a mating pair and wasn't sure whether they were parasitic or not, now I'll know :o)
4 years ago.