Dragonfly Pond Watch

Anax juniusThis morning I joined Brooklyn Bridge Park staffers and volunteers for an orientation about the Dragonfly Pond Watch they are participating in this season. As part of the Migratory Dragonfly Partnership, the Watch is gathering data about five of the sixteen known migratory dragonfly species in North America:

Common Green Darner (Anax junius)
Black Saddlebags (Tramea lacerata)
Spot-winged Glider (Pantala hymenaea)
Wandering Glider (Pantala flavescens)
Variegated Meadowhawk (Sympetrum corruptum).

Two of the species, the Darner (a male; the female is picture above, from my archives) and Saddlebags, were present this morning, which was helpful. I’ve seen the Spot-winged Glider in the park, and got this picture last year:Pantala hymenaea

The Variegated Meadow is a Midwestern/Western species; it may sometimes show up on this coast in the fall. I am looking forward to the delightfully named Wandering Glider, a widely distributed species found in many parts of the world.

This morning we also saw a Blue Dasher, the most common of dragonflies in the park, and this 12-Spotted Skimmer (Libellula pulchella):Libellula pulchellaThis is a male. Females don’t have the white spots on their wings. (The name count comes from the three dark marks per wing.)
exuviaBoth Dragonflies and Damselflies have aquatic larval stages; when they emerge, they shed their larval husks, unfurl their wings, and go. We were lucky to spot a single empty exoskeleton, known as an exuvia

Both dragonflies and damselflies are in the Odonata order. Damselflies are generally smaller, thinner, and when perched have wings closed over their abdomen; dragonflies hold their wings straight out. There were several species of damselflies about this morning, but these are rather harder to ID than the dragonflies:damselflyNote that it is munching on something with wings. The widely separated eyes are another marker of the damselflies.dcu Both “odes” are voracious predators, in both aquatic nymph and airborne adult stages.

And then, there was this:Emmelina monodactylaSpotted by Myra, park volunteer and reader of this blog. Looks like a Morning Glory Plume Moth (Emmelina monodactyla) resting after a long night of eating Joe-Pye Weed.

3 Responses to “Dragonfly Pond Watch”


  1. 1 Myra Klockenbrink June 1, 2013 at 8:23 am

    Also called a “T” moth. And those wings do unfurl into what looks like a series of fringed winglets. Most peculiar adaptation.
    Thank you for sharing your expertise….Morning Glory indeed!

  2. 2 Gillian June 3, 2013 at 8:00 pm

    Your damsel is a male Eastern Forktail, one of the easier ones to ID without a lens! In flight it looks like “a green dot followed by a blue dot” (not my description, but an apt one)! Females are either orange with a black-tipped abdomen, or bluish purple with green eyes.

    Spreadwings are somewhat easy, but you need a good look at the shape of their claspers, which can be identified through good close-up photographs.

    As for the bluets, most need to be examined in the hand to be identified. They are not my favourites, but I have made it a goal to try and learn to ID them this year.


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