Tank-raised damselfly - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-13-2005, 10:08 PM Thread Starter
Stu
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Smile Tank-raised damselfly

I've just had the pleasure of watching the beauty of life in nature as a damselfly nymph has just left my tank as a fully fledged adult.

I first saw it in the tank on the 7th April; on a stem of Rotala indica....



Next morning, at lights on, I saw it preying on one of the very numerous, tiny ostracods in my tank...



Every day I would find it in the Rotala, but this afternoon I noticed it had climbed a stem to the surface, and was sitting just at the water line. Knowing that it must be nearly ready to emerge as an adult, I left the light hood open at that end and popped out for a bit to my lfs.
Whilst there, I purchased a Crinum thaianum specimen they had in one of their tanks and proceeded to plant it on the other side of the tank to the nymph.

An hour or so later, I noticed the nymph had disappeared from the Rotala, to find it had gone the whole length of the tank to the new Crinum thaianum, and was half out the water on a leaf that was breaking the surface!
With tweezers, I carefully pulled on the leaf so that the nymph was now completely out of the water.



Still not sure if this was the right thing to do, I left it for a while and got on with other things. When I returned, I got a nice surprise when I saw it had emerged from it's larval exoskeleton.



From that moment on, I sat and watched it develop and grow to quite a bit larger than at it's larval stage.











The last two pictures show the maximum size it developed to. You can clearly see the size difference between the adult and it's larval exoskeleton.
I was reading a book to pass the time, whilst glancing up to check upon it, when all of a sudden, it had gone! I didn't actually see it fly, so I now have a damselfly somewhere in the house!

I thought I'd share this here. I've had nymphs in my tanks before but never witnessed them reaching maturity in all their glory, as fish or frogs usually devour them!


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post #2 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-13-2005, 10:26 PM
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Very interesting, Are they harmful to any fish or shrimp?
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post #3 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-13-2005, 10:50 PM
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Aww it's very pretty. How long did it take to get that big after it was out of the water?

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post #4 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-13-2005, 11:10 PM
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Unlike mosquito larva, damselfly larva can chase and eat fry so they are harmful in that manor. In most situations it would seem that the larger fish eat the larva. But I don't want to detract from the pictures above as they are neat.

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Very interesting, Are they harmful to any fish or shrimp?

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post #5 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-13-2005, 11:36 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StUk_In_AfRiKa
How long did it take to get that big after it was out of the water?
Total time out of the water was probably about 2 hours.... hard to say exactly as I kept coming back to check only periodically, but I have read it's usually 1-2 hours for damselfly species.

As BlueRam said, they are predators and will take anything small enough for them to eat. As the nymph reaches a length of about 25mm, the only worry for a fishkeeper is if fry are present. As mentioned, the second picture of the nymph is just after I watched it stalk and capture an ostracod, and I can confirm that for their size, they are quite voracious with relatively powerful, large mandibles!

The only reason why this one has survived, and for that matter, the fact that I have many tiny freshwater micro organisms in the tank is due to the fact that at present, the tank population consists of Caridina japonica and Otocinclus; both of which are limnivores.


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post #6 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-14-2005, 08:45 AM
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Thanks for sharing the interesting story and beautiful pics

Some time ago I had a neon-green nymph myself in a tank, that probably hitchhiked with some plants I got from Singapore. Unfortunately it just dissapeared, and I missed the opportunity to have a tropical damselfly hovering around in my appartment...
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post #7 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-14-2005, 10:27 AM Thread Starter
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This morning, when I went to do my usual pH/temp check on the tank, I noticed something bright blue on the water surface. It was the damselfly, clinging to my filter output tube with the lower part of it's body and it's wings in the water.

I immediately rescued it, and carefully removed a tiny snail that was stuck to it's wings, wandering around the house with it perched on the end of my finger!

As you can see from the pictures below, it had coloured up very spectacularly, with vivid greens and it also had a bright blue tip to it's tail (not visible here).







I decided to put it outside, on a bush above our pond.


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post #8 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-14-2005, 01:00 PM
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Stunning work you have done to have documented this so well. Your photographic work really makes this more than just a story told...what's next for that little guy? You obviously don't have my luck or it wouldn't have made it this long and sitting it outside by the pond would spell disaster from a cat or bird
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post #9 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-14-2005, 03:13 PM
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Awesome pictures Stu! Thanks for sharing. I've seen those in my pond in the summer time, but have never seen them morph the way you were able to. Nice job!

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post #10 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-14-2005, 05:00 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for all the comments.

Quote:
Originally Posted by snowman
...what's next for that little guy?
At the moment it's still in the same place, and I predict it will stay there and slowly starve, based on this information...
Quote:
In Britain, lucky Damsels seldom go more than two weeks and Dragons more than two months. Most Damsels rarely go more than a week, and Dragons two or three weeks. They die from accidents and predation, and large numbers from starvation - in poor weather neither they nor their prey can fly.
It's pretty poor weather at the moment, plus it probably isn't even naturally the right "time" for it to be an adult, as it was artificially raised in tank conditions and not by the seasons outside.


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post #11 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-14-2005, 05:32 PM
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Absolutely stunning photos, stu!!

That's some macro you have on your camera.

To this day, if I find a cocoon or crysalis, I keep it until it hatches . The BBC has a macro-film about "life in your backyard" (or something like that). I think David Attenborough narrates (as usual ). It has some lengthy details and footage of dragonflies and damselflies. It's well worth a watch - especially for the scene when a wet dog shakes off some water and carpet bombs every insect within a few meters.

Ted


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post #12 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-14-2005, 06:00 PM
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Nice series of pictures that you've taken there.

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post #13 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-14-2005, 06:55 PM
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Quote:
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Nice series of pictures that you've taken there.

very awesome. Great photos too.

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post #14 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-14-2005, 08:00 PM
 
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Talking

hmmm... i had one of those hitch a ride on some plants and it crawled out to the top of the tank and turned into its adult form and i came home to it sitting on my light looking at me... i was like wth!!! so i grabbed it up, chopped him up, and fed him to my fish They loved the snack

Oh and btw, those are EXCELLENT photography skills you have there!!! What kind of camera do you use? I have a HP 700 series thats 4.1 MP and i cant seem to get pictures like you got
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post #15 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-14-2005, 09:21 PM
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Wow that last picture is especially amazing. I'm jealous... I really really love photography but I can't afford a nice camera so I'm stuck with a dinky little thing.

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