Skilled fliers

A four-spotted chaser (Libellula quadrimaculata), photo Eero Haapanen.

Dragonflies (Odonata) are impressive, colourful predatory insects with phenomenal flying skills. A total of 62 dragonfly species have been recorded in Finland.

Dragonfly watching is a hobby similar to bird watching, involving observation via binoculars and photography. Dragonflies are often studied by nature surveyors, as they serve as good indicators of the state of the small water bodies that they inhabit in their larval stage. Dragonflies typically spend two or three years living unseen in ponds, streams and lakes in their larval stage. After the larval stage they take wing and fly around for a few weeks, seeking partners to mate with.

The large, dappled blue Baltic hawker (Aeshna serrata) flies from July to September. Male vagrant darters (Sympetrum vulgatum), which are dark red in colour, can be seen flying around from August to September. The male ruddy darter (Sympetrum sanguineum) is blood red in colour. It is a recent arrival in Finland, having been found in several ponds in Helsinki. In 2011, a species of dragonfly previously unrecorded in Finland, the red-veined darter (Sympetrum fonscolombii), was discovered in a pond in Uutela’s Särkkäniemi.


Large red damsels (Pyrrhosoma nymphula), photo Helsinki City Material Bank, Petro Pynnönen.