So delicate are his two sets of wings, the black lace echoing the white cross-stitch of the cushion to make a pleasing effect. He was not shy, or frightened, a commanding presence for an impressive creature. I admit I always get dragonflies and damselflies mixed up, so is this a dragonfly?
So excuse me for getting a bit technical. These are the definitions from the helpful British Dragonfly Society.
Dragonflies are insects in the sub-order Anisoptera (meaning “unequal-winged”). Hind wings are usually shorter and broader than forewings. They are usually large, strongly flying insects that can often be found flying well away from water. When at rest, they hold their wings out from the body, often at right angles to it. The eyes are very large and usually touch, at least at a point. The larvae have no external lamellae (gill plates).
Damselflies are insects in the sub-order Zygoptera (meaning “paired-wings”). All four wings are near enough equal in size and shape. They are usually small, weakly flying insects that stay close to the water margins or water surface. When at rest, most species hold their wings along the length of their abdomen. The Emerald Damselflies are an exception and usually hold their wings partly open when at rest. They are therefore known as Spreadwings in North America. The eyes are always separated, never touching. The larvae have external plates (lamellae) at the end of the abdomen, which act as accessory gills.
So this is definitely a dragonfly and we love him because he eats mosquitos, flies, ants and wasps, also bees which we are not so happy about. Thirty bee hives have appeared in Pablo’s olive grove, belonging to a local villager, so we are hopeful of being able to buy local honey this autumn.
My guess is that he is an Emperor dragonfly as they are the largest dragonfly in Europe, up to 3.1in in length. Whatever he is, he wasn’t timid and remained sitting on his silk cushion for over an hour. 5 to remember
una libélula – a dragonfly
las alas – the wings
el encaje negro – the black lace
técnico/a – technical
la definición – the definition