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I don't do lists of animals and plants seen, like temeres, but I do like to identify anything that catches my eye, or the lens of my camera. (For instance, the insect sitting on the buttercup in the last set of photos I posted is probably the damselfly Calopteryx virgo - the Beautiful Demoiselle, female version.)

However, I didn't have my camera when, in Chigwell Row Wood, we came on medium sized insect (maybe a centimetre long) with wonderful bright scarlet wing cases. This appears to a be Black-headed Cardinal Beetle (Pyrochroa coccinea)and is quite rare. However, Chigwell Row wood is managed for insect life, with felled or fallen trees often left to rot and this is just the sort of place where this beastie hangs out. I am chuffed.

Incidentally, the damselfly is listed as flying in June and you are apparently more likely to see the beetle from June too ... global warming, anyone?

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I meant to say tht your drgonfly photo was amazing. I've got oodles of photos of places where the little buggers were but weren't by the time I rpessed the button.

I've got oodles of photos of places where the little buggers were but weren't by the time I rpessed the button.

This is the joy of digital, of course. I had, for a few seconds, masses of similar photos. [grin]

I would certainly go with Calopteryx virgo rather than C splendens. The wings are suffused with a tinge that is more brownish than greenish (though irritatingly close to halfway between the two). The white spot on each wing is apparently a 'false pterostigma', and the relative size between forewing and hindwing suggests virgo. In splendens, the forewing spot is about twice the size of the hindwing one, but it doesn't look that much bigger in this specimen.

My dragonfly book also gives the flight period for virgo as mid-May to early September, with splendens emerging in late May.

I defer to your judgement, in any event!

There is an almost identical picture on one of the identification websites, which looked more like my photo than the one of the C. splendens, which is why I went with virgo but those two are so similar - particularly on my cribsheet - that the 'probably' was a necessity!

Well, I could be wrong, not being an odonatist (a term that sounds far naughtier than it is), but your pic was as ID-friendly as you could hope to get. The wings weren't as obviously brown as the one female virgo I've confidently identified, but on the other hand not as evidently greenish as the several splendens I've seen. And I dare say both species are subject to variation in any case.

Unless you're dealing with unmistakeables like the big easy butterflies, insect identification in the field is usually a matter of probability.

Also, the wings are translucent, with green grass behind them, so they will pick up a slightly green cast - especially as the picture was taken in bright sunlight.

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