Golden ringed dragonfly

A medium sized dragonfly with striking black and golden rings along its body length of 70-85mm. When resting the clear wings, which have a span of between 90- 105mmm, are at 90 degrees to the body.

The golden-ringed dragonfly larvae take three years to mature. During this time they are voracious feeders eating fish fry and other insect larvae. The larvae are at risk of being eaten by frogs and newts so spend much of their time half buried in the silt on the bottom of small burns (streams). At maturity the larvae crawls out of the water, splits open and the adult emerges.

Adults emerge in June and are seen hunting over springs, burns and rivers. They are feeding on smaller flying insects, including damselflies and moths. During bad weather, dragonflies cannot fly or catch food so may starve. In warm conditions, adult may live for several months. The larger females may be seen perched on foliage above the water and extending their long thin abdomen into the water to lay eggs on underwater vegetation.

It is widespread and common with strong populations in the west of Scotland ranging from Galloway to Rannoch Moor. It is extending its range north and is now found in the central Highlands and Inverness.

The larva’s extending mouthparts was the inspiration for life form in the Alien films.