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Rock stopover for migratory dragonflies

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Hundreds of dragonflies were spotted on the Rock yesterday on their migratory journey south.

Migrant Hawkers are often sighted as far north as England and Wales but are common in the Mediterranean and North Africa too.

October is usually a good month for spotting the Migrant Hawker dragonfly in Gibraltar, said Dr Keith Bensusan, Director of the Alameda Gardens.

According to scientists, the population of dragonfly across the world is being threatened due to a loss of wetland habitat.

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Dragonflies are predators, both in their aquatic larval stage and as adults.

A dragonfly starts its life as an egg, which is laid in water and hatches in two to three weeks.

The next stage is known as the larval stage where they are called naiads and live in water.

Finally, when they are ready to become adults, dragonflies leave the water and shed their skin.

As adults they can live for up to a year depending on the climate, although lifespan is usually shorter due to predators and poor weather.

As larvae, the dragonfly eats mainly tadpoles or small fish but as adults their diet includes mosquitos, helping to control the population of the biting pest in some areas.

There are over 3,000 different species of dragonfly and they come in a range of vibrant colours.

Dragonflies are known to have good eyesight when compared to other insects, with near on 360° vision that helps them detect the movement of other insects and potential predators.

All photos by David Parody.

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