Southern Damselfly

The Southern Damselfly (Coenagrion mercuriale) is a medium-sized insect in the Coenagrionidae family of damselflies which are similar to dragonflies. It is also known as the Mercury Bluet.

The Southern Damselfly has a long, cylindrical, slender abdomen with ten segments. The male is bright blue with black markings. The female is less colourful. It has a mark on the second segment of its abdomen that resembles the symbol for the planet Mercury. It has forewings and hindwings which are similar in appearance and are membranous. It has compound eyes (like the eyes of house flies) and three simple eyes (ocelli) on its forehead. It has small antennae. 

The joint between its head and prothorax is flexible, which enables the damselfly to swivel its head. 

Continue reading “Southern Damselfly”

Buff-Tailed Bear Hoverfly

The Buff-Tailed Bear Hoverfly (Criorhina floccosa) is an insect in the Syrphidae family of hoverflies. It is a Hoverfly that mimics a Bumblebee (a fly that looks like a bee).

The Buff-Tailed Bear Hoverfly has a long, orange or yellow-to-red hairy mass on its thorax and a broad, flat abdomen with short hairs on top. The female has a buff-coloured rear abdomen. It has tufts of pale hair at the sides of the abdomen, near the base. It has six dark-coloured legs. Like the Housefly, it has large compact eyes and smaller simple eyes.

Continue reading “Buff-Tailed Bear Hoverfly”

Dragonfly Eyes

What do dragonfly eyes look like? 

The dragonfly has a large head with three small simple eyes and two extremely large compound eyes that meet in the centre.

Compound eyes have thousands of ommatidia – tiny, independent photoreceptors that have a cornea, lens and light-sensing cells. 

Compound eyes can’t see very well, but they can see all around them and they can sense movement, especially fast movement.

Continue reading “Dragonfly Eyes”

Tachinid Fly

The Tachinid Fly (Tachina fera) is an insect in the Tachinidae family of true flies.

The Tachinid Fly has a grey thorax (chest) with black stripes. Its abdomen is yellow-orange with two yellow bands. It has a wide black stripe down the middle of its abdomen from head to tail. It is bristly (with thick black hair) on its thorax and abdomen. Its head is yellowish with long yellow and black antennae. It has large red compound eyes. Its wings have a slight yellow tinge with brown veins. The male has black legs with yellow tips, and the female has yellowish legs.

Continue reading “Tachinid Fly”

Hornet-Mimic Hoverfly

The Hornet-Mimic Hoverfly (Volucella zonaria) is an insect in the Syrphidae family. It is also called the Belted Hoverfly or the Zoned Volucelle. It is a syrph. 

The Hornet-Mimic Hoverfly has a yellow and reddish-brown body that looks like a wasp or a bee. Its two abdominal stripes are thicker than those of the bee. Its head is yellow. The female has a larger gap between the top of her eyes than the male (the male’s compound eyes touch each other). The male has a darker head than the female. Its wings and legs are reddish-brown. It does not have a stinger at the end of its abdomen and therefore it is harmless to humans.

Continue reading “Hornet-Mimic Hoverfly”

Asian Tiger Mosquito

The Asian Tiger Mosquito (Aedes albopictus orStegomyia albopicta) is a small insect from the Culicidae family of mosquitoes. It is also known as the Forest Day Mosquito.

The Asian Tiger Mosquito has white bands on its long, thin, silvery-black legs and black body. It has a single silvery-white line of scales that begins between its eyes and continues down its back. It has bushy antennae and compound eyes. It has a dark-coloured proboscis (long nose) for sucking blood from the body of animals or humans.

Continue reading “Asian Tiger Mosquito”

European Leaf Mantid

The European Leaf Mantid (Mantis religiosa eichleri) is an insect known as the praying mantis in the Mantidae family. It is related to termites and cockroaches, and is not related to grasshoppers.

The European Leaf Mantid has a triangular head with two large bulging compound eyes and three small simple eyes, with a pair of antennae. It has a flexible neck, and a long thin green or brown body. It has two sets of wings and long thin legs. When it is resting, it often has an upright posture. Its fore-legs (front legs) are often folded, as if it is praying. The fore-legs are raptorial legs, because they have spikes that can grasp its prey. It has two-toed claws.

Continue reading “European Leaf Mantid”


The Housefly (Musca domestica) is a common worldwide insect in the Muscidae family of true flies.

The Housefly has a head, thorax (chest), and abdomen (stomach).  It is black with four dark, longitudinal lines from its head to its tail. Its body and legs are slightly hairy. It has large, red, compound eyes. Near the compound eyes are three small simple eyes, called ocelli, and a pair of short antennae. It has six legs and one pair of membraneous (transparent) wings. Its mouthpart has a proboscis to suck liquid.

Continue reading “Housefly”

Banded Groundling Dragonfly

The Banded Groundling (Brachythemis leucosticte) is a dragonfly. It is an insect. It is from the Libellulidae family – the chasers and skimmers.

The Banded Groundling has transparent lace-like wings with a distinct brown-black band on the forewings and hindwings. It has a small creamy-yellow spot on the top edge of each wing. Its body is grey-black. It has a large head with large, multi-faceted compound eyes.

Continue reading “Banded Groundling Dragonfly”

Swamp Bluet Damselfly

The Swamp Bluet (Coenagrion lyelli) is a medium-sized insect in the Coenagrionidae family of damselflies, similar to a dragonfly. It lives across the globe in most climates, near streams, pools, and lakes.

The Swamp Bluet male is bright blue with black markings. The abdomen is long and slender with ten segments. It has compound eyes (like house flies) and three simple eyes (ocelli) on its forehead. It has small antennae.

The joint between head and prothorax is flexible, which enables the damselfly to swivel its head.

Continue reading “Swamp Bluet Damselfly”