The picture above is one I took and shows a Lestes forcipatus damselfly flipped upside down so the venter of its thorax is showing. You can definitely see the legs and the eyes (in fact, the pseudopupils are staring right at you).The deeply red-colored grape-like cluster are larval water mites (fully engorged mites are ~1mm in diameter). This species is Arrenurus planus. My students and collaborators Bruce Smith and Kit Muma have shown that this species of mite is found on several species of damselflies and principally on two species of dragonflies. We are interested in the fitness costs of mite parasitism in damselflies and dragonflies. Tonia Robb and I recently summarized all the available information on whether mites influence flight ability, mating success of males, fecundity of females, and/or survivorship of either sex. This information is summarized in a chapter in the newly released book entitled “Dragonflies and damselflies: model organisms for ecological and evolutionary research”. Ed. Alex Córdoba-Aguilar [for more information, see http://www.oup.com/uk/catalogue/?ci=9780199230693#authors].
Professor & student