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Eurasian baskettail

Epitheca bimaculata

Photo: Eurasian baskettail
Weights and measures
Length from 55 to 60 mm
Animal description
The Eurasian baskettail, scientifically known as Epitheca bimaculata, is a captivating species of dragonfly belonging to the Corduliidae family. This intriguing insect is primarily found across various regions of Europe and Asia, exhibiting a remarkable adaptability to different habitats ranging from still to slow-flowing waters, including lakes, ponds, and canals with abundant vegetation.

Characterized by its medium to large size, the Eurasian baskettail possesses an impressive wingspan that allows it to glide and maneuver through the air with grace and precision. The body of Epitheca bimaculata is slender and elongated, featuring a combination of striking colors that blend seamlessly with its natural surroundings. The base coloration of its body is predominantly a dark, metallic green or brown, which is beautifully contrasted by lighter, yellowish or greenish markings along the sides of its abdomen and thorax.

One of the most distinctive features of the Eurasian baskettail is its wings. The wings are transparent with a slight yellowish or amber tint, and in some individuals, a small, dark spot can be observed at the nodus (the midpoint of the leading edge) of each wing, which is a characteristic trait of this species. These powerful wings not only facilitate long-distance flights but also enable the dragonfly to hover and perform agile aerial maneuvers while hunting for prey or evading predators.

The larvae of the Eurasian baskettail, like those of other dragonflies, are aquatic and exhibit remarkable adaptations for underwater life. They possess a unique respiratory system that allows them to extract oxygen from water, and their formidable mouthparts enable them to be efficient predators, feeding on a variety of aquatic organisms.

The adult Eurasian baskettail is a formidable predator as well, primarily feeding on smaller flying insects. Its hunting strategy involves patrolling its territory at high speeds, using its acute vision to spot prey, which it then captures with its legs and consumes while flying.

Mating in Epitheca bimaculata involves a unique aerial display, where the male grasps the female behind the head with claspers at the end of his abdomen, and the pair performs a series of flight patterns before the female lays her eggs in water. The life cycle of the Eurasian baskettail, from egg to adult, is a fascinating process that reflects the incredible adaptability and resilience of this species.

In summary, the Eurasian baskettail (Epitheca bimaculata) is a remarkable dragonfly species known for its beautiful appearance, adept flying skills, and important role in aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems. Its presence is a testament to the intricate balance of nature and the diverse life forms that inhabit our planet.
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