Posts Tagged 'dragonflies'

Last Dragonfly

dragonflyI took this picture through a window and at some distance. This was actually a sculptural element on the wall of a florist’s. But the two-foot wingspan reminded me of the ancient dragonflies. The extinct Meganeura genus, preserved in some pretty spectacular fossils, had wingspans up to 25″ (65 cm) around 300 million years ago.

Close-up

Anax juniusCommon Green Darner, Anax junius.

Flying

Insect-summer is over. But last week I was in Prospect Park and saw masses of dragonflies over the Butterfly Meadow, in a patch of the Nethermead, and then in two clusters along the Long Meadow. They all seemed to be Common Green Darners, the large migrating species. And they were hunting on the wing. Gnats, for want of a better description, filled the air.

And hunting for the dragonflies, a Kestrel, swooping in great deep arcs before briefly perching way up on a tree-top.falco

Skimmer Fore and Aft

Libellula pulchellaFemale Twelve-spotted Skimmers (Libellula pulchella) seen on Staten Island and Brooklyn.Libellula pulchella

Sympetrum Meadowhawks

Sympertrum vicinumThe red meadowhawk dragonflies are difficult to identify in the field, since several members of the genus Sympetrum look rather similar.Sympetrum vicinumBut I figured these out because of the legs. These are Autumn Meadowhawks (Sympetrum vicinum), in some sources called Yellow-legged; other meadowhawks have black legs. They’re small: 1.3″ long. Sympetrum vicinumTheir colors, especially the bright males, rival fall’s leaves.Sympetrum vicinum“Typically the last species on the wing northern climes,” says the Stokes guide, although it was a balmy 80 when I ran into them in Green-Wood this weekend.

Future Odes

Perithemis teneraEastern Amberwings (Perithemis tenera) in the reproductive wheel: the male holds the female by the back of the head; the female curves her abdomen up and forwards his genitalia, located (counterintuitively?) at the base of his abdomen. Pachydiplax longipennisA female Blue Dasher (Pachydiplax longipennis) dipping her abdomen down to lay fertilized eggs in a bit of water floating on a lily. Enallagma civileIn some species of Odonates, the male will continue to hold the female after mating and through the egg-laying process, precluding another male from mating with her, as with these Familiar Bluets (Enallagma civile). They can fly in tandem like this. Some species’ males will scoop out a previous male’s sperm from the female before adding his own with his specially equipped penis.Pachydiplax longipennisBlue Dasher females don’t seem to need chaperones. And look at all the eggs! Like pieces of short-grain rice, but much smaller. Of course, you know many will not make it to adulthood. These eggs were another post-photo discovery.

Venation

Libellula vibransMale Great Blue Skimmer (Libellula vibrans).Plathemis lydiaCommon Whitetail (Plathemis lydia) male.Libellula pulchellaForewings of female Twelve-spotted Skimmer (Libellula pulchella). I found this with a little bit of thorax exoskeleton a few blocks from home. Extremely lightweight, and prone to blowing away in a weak breeze.Libellula pulchellaSome magnification. Tramea lacerataBlack Saddlebags (Tramea lacerata) female. Hindwings are especially wide on this species.


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