Emperor dragonfly and exuvia

I spotted this emperor dragonfly, the largest of UK dragonflies, at Sparham Pools, Norfolk as it rested on a post at the water’s edge.  I took the photo just before it flew off and then noticed the case (below) attached to a nearby reed.  The emperor lives in the case (the exuvia) in the water and, when ready to ‘hatch’, crawls up the reed.  It then removes itself from the case and blows itself up to about twice the size of the case, hangs around a while until it hardens up and then flies off.  I guess this is a simple explanation so apologies to those who would prefer a more scientific account.  I’d never seen this before so was pleased to have captured it.  The case does look a bit weird but obviously did its job.

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