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Old Thursday 3rd August 2006, 10:35   #1
Mutter
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Female southern Hawker egg laying

Morning all

On Sunday I was really pleased to see a Southern hawker near my small pond. I often get damselflies but not dragonflies.

I'm assuming it was a female and also assume she was laying eggs. She was on her own with no male around, I'm assuming this is this the right id for the behaviour of a Southern Hawker ?

My quandry is that she was laying eggs in the compost of a large pot that I had just potted a New Zealand Flax into. It's coincidental that I had left the pot by the pond prior to moving it to the front of the house.

I suppose what I'm trying to find out is that if i leave the pot by the pond for a couple of weeks will the larvae hatch and find their way into the pond or will they perish in the pot plant not able to find water? Should I skim the top inch of the soil and put it closer to the pond somehow?

I have some excellent macro shots of her too - I'll try post them soon.

Any advice welcome?

Thanks

andy
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Last edited by mutleymacclad : Thursday 3rd August 2006 at 20:22. Reason: posting photos
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Old Thursday 3rd August 2006, 19:27   #2
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Southern's are notorious for laying eggs in really stupid places: somebodies sock (which they were wearing) is the best I've heard. What they are supposed to do is lay the eggs in the bank above a stream or river so that when the water rises in the winter the eggs will wash off. I don't think the eggs are ment to hatch till winter though, so I'm at a loss to suggest what you could do other than, as you say, decant the top inch to a seperate container and then chuck it in the pond around November.
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Old Friday 4th August 2006, 09:58   #3
harry eales
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HarassedDad
Southern's are notorious for laying eggs in really stupid places: somebodies sock (which they were wearing) is the best I've heard. What they are supposed to do is lay the eggs in the bank above a stream or river so that when the water rises in the winter the eggs will wash off. I don't think the eggs are ment to hatch till winter though, so I'm at a loss to suggest what you could do other than, as you say, decant the top inch to a seperate container and then chuck it in the pond around November.
I have to agree, HD, they are stupid at times, I had one female try and lay ova into the suede shoes I was wearing when standing next to a very small garden pond.

Andy,
I would advise removing the top layer of compost from your plant pot and put it into water as soon as possible and not leave it until later in the year. The life cycle is only a year and nymphs will emerge from the ova very soon. It won't hurt your plants to remove the top inch or so of compost as long as you replace it with fresh compost. Put the removed compost containing the ova into the pond as soon as possible, that will give the hatching nymphs a chance of survival.

Lastly, move the plant pot away from the pond, unless you want to attend to it every day until Southern Hawkers cease to fly.

Harry
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Old Friday 4th August 2006, 10:53   #4
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Originally Posted by harry eales
I have to agree, HD, they are stupid at times, I had one female try and lay ova into the suede shoes I was wearing when standing next to a very small garden pond.

Andy,
I would advise removing the top layer of compost from your plant pot and put it into water as soon as possible and not leave it until later in the year. The life cycle is only a year and nymphs will emerge from the ova very soon. It won't hurt your plants to remove the top inch or so of compost as long as you replace it with fresh compost. Put the removed compost containing the ova into the pond as soon as possible, that will give the hatching nymphs a chance of survival.

Lastly, move the plant pot away from the pond, unless you want to attend to it every day until Southern Hawkers cease to fly.

Harry

Hi Harry

Many thanks for the advice, as soon as I get home tonight I'll be onto it. Just one more question, should I put the compost directly into the pond or on the marginals which are on a ledge, with the soil above the water line, because of this dry spell? It's a wlidlife pond so I'm not worried about chucking compost in if its the right move.

thanks

andy
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Old Friday 4th August 2006, 11:26   #5
harry eales
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Originally Posted by mutleymacclad
Hi Harry

Many thanks for the advice, as soon as I get home tonight I'll be onto it. Just one more question, should I put the compost directly into the pond or on the marginals which are on a ledge, with the soil above the water line, because of this dry spell? It's a wlidlife pond so I'm not worried about chucking compost in if its the right move.

thanks

andy
Hello Andy,
The normal place for a S.Hawker to lay is into moss or similar substrate which overhangs a pond. If your ledge edge is directly above the pond it should suffice. I would suggest that if part of the ledge is in shade then use that area rather than a position where it receives direct sunlight. Id you have some sphagnum moss available, mix the compost gently with it and put this all on the ledge. Water with a watering can rose or use a spray daily to keep everything moist. The moss will absorb the water and swell up, and, as the water evaporates it will keep a cool atmosphere around the ova. Just placing the compost alone on the ledge may not work well as it is very likely to dry out, possibly entombing the nymph.

The nymph of this species, when it hatches, is enclosed in a water filled membrane. This pro-nymph will seek out water and once submerged, will cast the pro-nymph casing.

Just a last thought, if you have fish in your wildlife pond, you will not succeed in rearing many dragonflies, they're a very popular fish food.

Harry
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Old Friday 4th August 2006, 11:44   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by harry eales
Hello Andy,
The normal place for a S.Hawker to lay is into moss or similar substrate which overhangs a pond. If your ledge edge is directly above the pond it should suffice. I would suggest that if part of the ledge is in shade then use that area rather than a position where it receives direct sunlight. Id you have some sphagnum moss available, mix the compost gently with it and put this all on the ledge. Water with a watering can rose or use a spray daily to keep everything moist. The moss will absorb the water and swell up, and, as the water evaporates it will keep a cool atmosphere around the ova. Just placing the compost alone on the ledge may not work well as it is very likely to dry out, possibly entombing the nymph.

The nymph of this species, when it hatches, is enclosed in a water filled membrane. This pro-nymph will seek out water and once submerged, will cast the pro-nymph casing.

Just a last thought, if you have fish in your wildlife pond, you will not succeed in rearing many dragonflies, they're a very popular fish food.

Harry
Many thanks Harry

There are a couple of fish in the pond, they're obviously clever enough to dodge the heron when he visits. I've seen damsel and dragonfly nymps in the pond so they should be ok. There's a lot of shelter and other life for both the fish and nymphs to feed on.

once again your help is greatly appreciated.

andy
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