Wildlife photographer Andrew Fusek Peters caught the moment a white-faced darter dragonfly, typically found in peat bogs, molted and left behind its hollow exoskeleton.
Taken in Shropshire, the pictures show the dragonfly bursting out of its skin as it transitions into being an adult. Peters, 54, claims to have spent three hours in a bog awaiting the incredible moment.
The images are even more special given that the dragonfly is rare in the UK. The species was only reintroduced in 2010 after populations were devastated after the loss of 95% of the original peat bogs.
Recalling the experience, he said:
This behavior is rarely photographed. I was lying on a duckboard sinking into the bog for around an hour-and-a-half while this wonderful insect unfurled its wings. It was only about a foot-and-a-half away from me so I needed to be extremely still — but it was thrilling to watch!
Once the process was finished, Fusek Peters said he was able to pick up the exoskeleton the creature left behind.
Dragonflies climb out of their pools atop plant stems before molting, shedding their previous exoskeleton to become an adult. The darter larvae — the species pictured here — splits its skin at the back of its head, before wriggling its new, soft body out and letting it harden.
Images courtesy, and used with the permission of, Andrew Fusek Peters.