I received this e-mail today from the Conservation Officer of the British Dragonfly Society identifying what I photographed attached clinging to one of the water reeds in my fish pond.
Good afternoon Sister,
Thanks you for getting in touch!
It’s an exuviae. Dragonfly larvae live underwater and when they are ready to transform into adults they crawl out of the water, up vegetation, and shed their skin which is left behind (the exuviae). This process is known as emergence. You can watch a video of it here:
This one is either from a species of Hawker Dragonfly (Southern Hawker are very common in garden ponds) or an Emperor Dragonfly.
Keep an eye out for the flying adult! It will have flown off in search of food for now but hopefully will return in a week or two to breed when it is fully mature.
You learn something every day!