The Ruby and the Sapphire…

Dear All, 

Hello – greetings from the rainforest. I was very lucky to spend the xmas holidays in the Kakamega forest in Western Kenya. After a dry spell, the rains arrived with a vengeance and it rained and rained and rained. This was simply wonderful and I truly hope that it heralds a good year ahead.

 

Thanks to the rain the bugs in the rainforest were incredible. Day before yesterday I took a long hike through the forest towards the Yala river.

 

In one section of primary forest by a stream I noticed a flash of pure angry red zipping by. A few seconds later it returned and settled on a leaf. To my utter amazement and joy it was a Ruby Jewel (aka the Uganda Red Jewel)!

 

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This is one of our less-common damselflies and has only been spotted a handful of times in Western Kenya. It was cooperative enough to let me take a few pictures, including of its flicking its abdomen in a sun-spot to woo females.

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Unlike me, they seemed to be totally unimpressed by his efforts as none showed up during the entire time I spent watching him.

 

Later in the day yesterday, walking by myself along another stream I noticed a blur of incandescent neon blue-green. It floated by, darting in and out of the shadows. I followed it, hoping that it would settle. After several minutes of searching, it seemed to have vanished and I gave up. I returned to look at the bees on some flowers, soon losing myself in a daydream… then looking up I saw that the apparition was sitting right in front of me on a leaf, watching me with its beady black eyes!

 

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This was another of the most beautiful of damselflies – called the Sapphire. It is simply one of the most amazing sights to see – a smouldering neon flame flashing in the dappled sunlight. Again, this fellow cooperated and I managed to get some pictures.

 

This rainforest, Kakamega Forest in Western Kenya, was once mined for gold and searched for precious stones. However, I think that you will agree with me that the forest and her damselfly children are the true jewels of the this beautiful place.

 

More from the wonderful world of bugs soon! Thanks to everyone for the kinds comments…

4 thoughts on “The Ruby and the Sapphire…

  1. Sounds like you had a lovely Christmas in Western Kenya and received some beautiful surprises seeing these damselflies. Their coloring is beautiful. Strange name tho, ‘damsel’ considering they were males? Are the females less colorful?

  2. Hi Dana – Thanks for your comment. Yes, it was lovely being in the rainforest for Christmas. In response to your question, yes the name ‘damselfly’ applies to both the males and females – in fact it is the name for the entire group of insects. I guess that in comparison to the dragonflies which are more robustly built, the damselflies are much more delicate and ‘damsel’-like. Yes, as with many insects, the females are rather drab, as they need to be protected so that they can lay the eggs in safety…

  3. Hello Dino!
    Simply extraordinary! Amazing luck and yet there you were on the ready to capture these record photos.

    And all this time I thought you were a fish guy…as illustrated in those fantastic drawings you did last year!

    Best of luck for all of your adventures and work,
    Cheryl (former fish custodian…)

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