Great places to see: Dragonflies and damselflies

Blue-tailed damselfly (c) Steve WaterhouseBlue-tailed damselfly (c) Steve Waterhouse

Dragonflies and damselflies; the winged jewels that have remained virtually unchanged for millions of years.

40 Places to see DragonsNo summer outing would be complete without hearing the tell-tale sound of a patrolling dragonfly as it hunts over a nearby pond. Their aerial manouvres rival the fastest military aircraft as they duck and turn in pursuit of prey or narrowly avoid the clutches of hungry hobbies.

There are 40 species of breeding dragon and damselfly in the UK, with an extra handful of migrants arriving in the summer months to swell our populations. Some specialize in either northern or southern areas, so there's always a good chance of encountering them no matter where you are.

These adaptable insects lord over wetlands, moorland and even woodland glades, feeding on flies, midges and even each other. If you thought butterflies were the only insects worth a second glance, these multi-coloured, iridescent predators demand appreciation too.

Find a good site to view an aerial display near you with our guide to 40 great Wildlife Trust reserves for dragonflies and damselflies.

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