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 Post subject: Re: my new pond project
PostPosted: Sat May 27, 2017 12:55 pm 
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awesome pictures agrius, amazing how the water beetle larvae can take tadpoles so much bigger than them. great how you've got so many things emerging,, some serious numbers there


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 Post subject: Re: my new pond project
PostPosted: Sun May 28, 2017 6:17 pm 
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its just a matter of holding on to the thrashing taddy until the poison takes effect i guess lol. if they get their jaws into the taddies body its over for it, but if they grab the tail, it sometimes breaks off letting the tadpole get away. not sure if it grows back, as i cant find any info online. the small larvae dont seem to have any fear of even big tadpoles at all. but the larvae do seem frightened of smooth newts and also each other. tadpoles are very afraid of both newts and the larvae, but esp the larvae, as newts dont eat tadpoles when they get big, but gd beetle larvae do lol. ive only seen one larvae eating another larvae once, even though they bump into each other alot. ive seen them eating a damselfly larvae, dragon fly larvae and a backswimmer nymph. only seen one dead smooth newt in the pond, and that was before the gd larvae. so i dont think they are preying on adult smooth newts. there are now a s@$t load of the larvae. they are everywhere i look of all sizes lol. they seem totally blind and dont know a tadpole is there unless they contact it. so at least the poor tadpoles have that going for them.

the chaser dragonflies seem to be hornet mimics. they fly around much like them, and quite slow for a dragonfly really. and even have yellow markings on the abdomen. they do chase each other too, so i guess they are well named lol

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 Post subject: Re: my new pond project
PostPosted: Mon May 29, 2017 11:40 pm 
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just been out with the torch in dark, looking in pond. female gc newt laying eggs again on the water soldier plant. shes there every night. there are a few visible gc newt larvae now, swimming around. they look like fish. found two large insect wings floating on the surface. one was a beetle wing, so either a great diving beetle or cockchafer, and the other was half a dragonfly wing. no other obvious remains. i wonder what killed them. my guess is bat or magpie. the many diving beetle larvae are still killing a lot of tadpoles. i saw one which was virtually a froglet, so bit annoyed with that. will any taddies make it? with the adult beetle dead (or flown off), hopefully there wont be any new larvae and some baby froggies can make it out.

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 Post subject: Re: my new pond project
PostPosted: Wed May 31, 2017 9:37 am 
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Sounds like a war zone...guess that's why they lay so many eggs aha tough life for a tadpole


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 Post subject: Re: my new pond project
PostPosted: Wed May 31, 2017 11:34 am 
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yah. and then theres drying out of their ponds. the pond (if you can call it that) i 'stole' the frogspawn from, about a mile away, dried up completely weeks ago. so i guess all of the tadpoles died. at least the frogspawn i took had a fighting chance. i reckon about a quarter will become froglets. theres still a lot of visible tadpoles, and many have back legs now.

newt larvae update. the 4 gc newtlings (from my own pond) are thriving, about 6 cm long now and right little monsters lol. i have them in a nice little setup on the windowsill, with hornwort and frogbit plants. im not happy putting them in pond yet, with those f'ing diving beetle larvae


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Last edited by agrius on Wed May 31, 2017 1:50 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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 Post subject: Re: my new pond project
PostPosted: Wed May 31, 2017 1:46 pm 
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just observed approx 30 pairs of damselfly laying eggs, many in groups ! these on new zealand pygmyweed, an invasive species.

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eggs of gc newt, on water soldier

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amphibious bistort. a nice native plant with floating leaves. quite slow establishing and growing but doesnt swamp the pond or get destroyed by snails. i definitely recommend this plant in a wildlife pond if you can get it.

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 Post subject: Re: my new pond project
PostPosted: Fri Jun 02, 2017 9:41 am 
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What do you feed the gc newt larvae? Just daphnia?


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 Post subject: Re: my new pond project
PostPosted: Fri Jun 02, 2017 11:41 am 
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At first they eat tiny swimming creatures, cyclops and things. And i guess till they get quite big its their main food source because they seem to stay floating in mid water where the little plankton animals live. I dont think smooth newt larvae float about in the open like this. When they grow bigger they can take small larvae and worms too which makes feeding them easier if you can find small enough worms. Hatchling worms are fairly easy to find in compost. Sunlight and tweezers helps. Im feeding these big larve now on bigger worms cut in half or quarters. I dont really like doing this as its a bit cruel. Id prefer to feed them on whole worms but appropriate sized small ones about 2cm long are very hard to find.

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 Post subject: Re: my new pond project
PostPosted: Sat Jun 03, 2017 6:51 pm 
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found another dragonfly wing, quite along way from pond :(


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 Post subject: Re: my new pond project
PostPosted: Sat Jun 03, 2017 6:54 pm 
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diving beetle larvae molting and another tadpole not fast enough.


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 Post subject: Re: my new pond project
PostPosted: Fri Jun 09, 2017 6:39 pm 
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decided to release the 4 big efts into the pond now they are starting to become baby newts. they still have gills but losing their larvae fins and getting adult markings and warty texture. they also now dont float around like smaller larvae, but walk on the bottom like adults do. their legs are chunky and strong now, not puny like the baby larvae.

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found one of the big newt efts in the pond tonight. looking good.

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still worrying numbers of diving beetle larvae. i put a dead privet hawk moth in the pond. later on, there were 6 larvae feeding on it. they did not seem to attack each other, or at least they were able to fend off the attack. was hoping the larvae would disappear but another adult female is in the pond. so probably get a new batch of these devils :)

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 Post subject: Re: my new pond project
PostPosted: Sun Jun 11, 2017 7:20 pm 
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incredible photos agrius! absolute carnage...


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 Post subject: Re: my new pond project
PostPosted: Mon Jun 12, 2017 10:41 am 
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thanks will. i just point the camera :)

i dont know why my privet hawks are dying after emerging (it doesnt matter as ive got at least one pairing and so likely over 100 eggs) but at least they are finding a use in the pond as beetle food and if it diverts them from tadpoles its a good thing. there was both an adult and larvae feeding on another moth last night. interesting to see larvae and adult forms together, although im sure they would kill each other if they wernt so able to deflect attack. also i saw a larva leaving the pond to pupate but there are plenty more big ones still yet to bugger off. good news is the great crested newt efts seem fairly immune to the larvae, because they hang around in mid water and can swifly evade capture in any direction. tadpoles tend to stay at the bottom, where vegetation might impede their escape. biggest count so far is 15 visible at once but i expect there are more

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 Post subject: Re: my new pond project
PostPosted: Tue Jun 13, 2017 10:23 pm 
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at last i found a southern hawker nymph, from last summers egg laying females. not surprising as its very small, maybe 2nd or 3rd instar. hope theres hundreds more.

cuuuuuuuuute :)

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 Post subject: Re: my new pond project
PostPosted: Fri Jun 16, 2017 1:38 pm 
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had a special visitor today. i should know the species but i dont until i look it up.


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 Post subject: Re: my new pond project
PostPosted: Sun Jun 25, 2017 11:10 am 
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a few of these little dragonflies have been emerging, although i missed most of them. i think they are common darters, the little red jobs. havnt really spotted any larvae. i think they must have been hiding in the depths of the vegetation zones. the ones ive seen have been in the jaws of the diving beetle larvae.

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a southern hawker emerged but i missed it. just the nymphal case to show for it. heres its pic. theres some other cases and a common darter too.

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 Post subject: Re: my new pond project
PostPosted: Wed Jul 19, 2017 11:29 am 
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Pics.......

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 Post subject: Re: my new pond project
PostPosted: Sat Aug 05, 2017 1:54 pm 
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went out with the torch last night. there seems to be a few adult great diving beetles now, presumably from the larvae that were in the pond a few weeks ago. all are females though which is a bit strange.

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 Post subject: Re: my new pond project
PostPosted: Sun Aug 20, 2017 10:45 am 
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Hey agrius, how's it going. My ponds looking lovely, nicely grown plants in 2/3rds of the pond and the remaining 1/3rd at one end is left open with sand on the bottom to encourage other dragonfly species. Pond dipping I find hundreds of newt larvae, hundreds of backswimmers and greater waterboatmen and most satisfyingly, dragon fly nymphs. I have found both hawker and darter/chaser nymphs, small so must have been laid at the start of this summer, and also many damsel fly nymphs. Pictures to follow later this evening!


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 Post subject: Re: my new pond project
PostPosted: Sun Aug 20, 2017 11:11 am 
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I've watched a female southern hawker fly about the pond. Interestingly she keeps landing on an old, soft log which is about a foot from the edge of the pond and looks like she is trying to lay eggs...? Looking up close she doesn't seem to produce any eggs, but the action certainly looks like it. Perhaps she's practicing or something?


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 Post subject: Re: my new pond project
PostPosted: Sun Aug 20, 2017 12:19 pm 
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great observation, same here. i just get those southern hawkers too. usually see about 1 per day but could be more as im not often there to see. no brown hawkers or other types. yes they fly about before finding a good spot. often in the wrong place, like yours. if i see one land on the rotting sleepers, a little bit away from my pond. i scare it off so it lands on one of the stumps ive put in the pond. most usually find them ok. they arnt really that afraid of you, and usually come right back. one even landed on my hand lol. you can creep up very close if you move slowly.

you cant see any eggs being laid even when you look very closely. they stick their black, claw like ovipositor in the wood, and must shoot an egg through it really quickly, but you cant actually see it moving through the overipositor. i can see a white thing pulse near the base of the claw, which might be the egg passing through, but its hard to see as its really quick. i think they lay a lot of eggs. i tried to count what looked like successful attempts, and got to 150 before i gave up, but it carried on a long time afterwards.

glad your pond is full of larvae. im also seeing hawker nymphs now, about 1.5cm long. they can really move fast by their jet propulsion, about as fast as a newt. im not sure how numerous, but judging by the few ive spotted when not really looking for them, there are probably hundreds hidden inside the thick weed areas.

what im curious about is how long the eggs take to hatch. only thing ive read is they hatch in the spring. that doesnt sound very likely to me, what with fungus and such in the wood. i reckon they hatch in a couple of weeks. then they can grow a bit before the winter.

look forward to any dragonfly and pond pics. more the merrier

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 Post subject: Re: my new pond project
PostPosted: Mon Aug 21, 2017 7:49 am 
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Some pics


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 Post subject: Re: my new pond project
PostPosted: Wed Aug 23, 2017 12:32 pm 
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Nice.

Found a metamorphised baby great crested newt last night, sitting on top of a mat of water weed. Almost perfect mini version of an adult with same warty texture and colourful underside. Maybe 8cm long. It was very lively and strong. I reckon the pond produced at least 20. Also, finding baby frogs around the garden. They have grown quite a lot already. Most are hiding in the grassy areas ive created for them. Next spring i might catch and transfer the diving beetles before they lay eggs, or they will destroy all the hawker dragonfly larvae and tadpoles.


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 Post subject: Re: my new pond project
PostPosted: Fri Aug 25, 2017 5:54 pm 
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Nice! Feel free to send me the diving beetles ;)


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 Post subject: Re: my new pond project
PostPosted: Sat Aug 26, 2017 7:21 am 
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dont be greedy. thought you had plenty of your own lol

one thing ive noticed about my pond atm, is there is nothing obvious to see in it. all the damselflies have gone, hardly any snails and no newts, adults anyway. its weirdly deserted.

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 Post subject: Re: my new pond project
PostPosted: Sat Aug 26, 2017 6:38 pm 
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Yeh a lot of the things I find are in the juvenile/growing stages, many adults must lay eggs, feed and move on? The diving beetles have deserted me actually! Not seen any swimming about at night and not seen their larvae unfortunately


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 Post subject: Re: my new pond project
PostPosted: Sat Aug 26, 2017 6:40 pm 
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Hardly any snails you say? I have hundreds and hundreds ahha think they were eating the excessive algae - which has been reduced significantly so perhaps I have the snails to thank.. I do have millions of these weird brown balls of algae - I thought they were eggs at first but turns out they're algae. They cover the sides of the liner and many of the plants...very weird and alien like, not sure what to do with them?


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 Post subject: Re: my new pond project
PostPosted: Sun Aug 27, 2017 2:35 am 
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yeah algae is a pain. had a ton of blanket weed earlier but it seems to have slowed a lot. but theres a surface scum type of algae now. i think it develops at the bottom and floats up with trapped air bubbles. its worst on sunny days and just looks untidy. also ive noticed a weird very green algae, that seems to be made up of tiny balls. it floats in the water, but only near surfaces. im thinking its maybe volvox.

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but the snail situation is very odd. they used to be everywhere. and if they died, where are the shells?

i did see one of those pretty leeches eating a snail, but only seen them a few times so i dont think they are the culprit.

maybe its just magpies and thrushes eating them, but even so, hard to see how they would get them all out.

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 Post subject: Re: my new pond project
PostPosted: Sat Sep 02, 2017 3:16 pm 
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Hmm maybe I'll see lots of my snails disappear over winter? Who knows


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 Post subject: Re: my new pond project
PostPosted: Wed Oct 04, 2017 4:59 pm 
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update on the snails. i think it was mainly blackbirds eating them. reason being all the blackbirds disappeared over the last month or so. they do this from gardens in late summer apparantly but ive never noticed them totally disappearing like this before. not a one to be seen for ages. anyway, the snails seem to have come back a bit, well theres quite a lot of full grown greater pond snails near the sides. before, i think the BBs were snaffling them when they got in range. there were bits of shell around the sides.

if i remember right, pond snails were pretty active over the colder months last year. i think they might even multiply if its not too cold.

dragonfly larvae update. im seeing lots of big aeshna larvae now, esp with the torch at night. sometimes groups of 3 or 4 sitting close together. must be a few hundred in the weedy areas in total, going by seeing clusters in one spot. a surprising thing about them is they can shift quite fast when you poke them with a stick. :rofl:

another noteworthy thing is the water fleas or whatever they are, have multiplied to plague proportions. so they will be feeding lots of critters.

also, i found one of the baby gc newts on the garage floor one evening. its quite a long way from the pond , on other side of house completely, so they must wander about a lot. maybe evidence quite a few were produced

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