This summer has been a good one for horse stingers and devil's darning needles, or to use more familiar modern names, dragonflies and damselflies!

Dependent upon the species, dragonflies lay eggs into plants below the surface, into bankside vegetation or tree stumps along the margin of a lake.

Sometimes the insects mistake the legs of horses and cattle standing in shallow water for tree trunks and lay eggs into them!

So, many years ago, farmers watched this happening and believed the dragonflies were stinging the animals, not laying eggs. Hence 'horse stingers'!

Of course, dragonflies can’t sting and are perfectly harmless. When the eggs hatch, the larvae drop into the water and begin their nymphal lives of two years.

Folklore refers to damselflies as 'devil's darning needles' because of their needle-like abdomens.

Again, damselflies are harmless and in common with dragonflies, catch insect prey on the wing.

Dragonflies evolved four hundred million years ago and have changed little apart from being much smaller than their ancestors.

Damselflies are the new kids on the block and have only been around for three hundred million years.

They lay eggs under water lily leaves or into floating vegetation and the larvae spend just one year before emerging as perfect colourful insects.

The photo shows azure blue damselflies pairing in the wheel or heart position.