Pictured is a male ruddy darter dragonfly adopting a pose known as 'sky pointing'. It does this in very hot weather by pointing its abdomen at the sun to reduce surface area thus avoiding over heating. This species and its close relative the common darter are the last of the dragonflies we will see this year.

Dragonflies evolved over three hundred million years ago and have changed little since apart from being very much smaller than their ancestors all those years ago because the oxygen content in the atmosphere is far less dense now.

We sometimes hear the phrase 'its not rocket science' implying that something may be less complicated than it appears at first glance.

Dragonflies employ .a form of rocket science. Their voracious larvae, or nymphs, spend up to three years underwater shedding skins up to fifteen times as they grow, feeding on small invertebrates, tadpoles and fish fry. They stalk their prey, crawling towards their target then when very close, shoot a jet of water from their rear ends and pounce on their hapless prey. How about that for rocket science! At the same time they use their mouthparts which have a long modified lower jaw with a claw at its end that is rapidly thrust forward to impale their prey.

Truly remarkable creatures from a bygone age.