Posts Tagged 'damselflies'

Ode to the Odonates

An immature female Eastern Forktail (Ischnura verticalis). Several members of of the Ischunura genus have immature females with orange on them, but telltale here: segments 1-3 are mostly orange, and that there’s no orange on segment 9. She will lose this color as she ages: the standard female form is an olive green, although there’s also a male-like female with pale green-blue details. An Orange Bluet male (Enallagma signatum). Notably about .5″ longer than the Forktail. (The duckweed here, especially in first pic, is host to a small insect that I don’t know.) Back to the inch-long specimens. This is a Fragile Forktail (Ischnura posita) male. Species is distinctive in both sexes for the broken “shoulder stripe.”Slaty Skimmer (Libellula incesta) male. (About 2″ long.) If you’re just joining us: a quick way to tell damselflies from dragonflies is that dragonflies rest with their wings spread, damselflies with their wings closed above their abdomen. (Cavet: spread-winged damselflies; always an outlier somewhere.) The Slaty is a new species for me. Only took one picture because I wasn’t paying all that much attention: thought it might be an Eastern Pondhawk (Erythemis simplicicollis) male in different light. The Pondhawk — smaller, powdery blue, different eye color — also has notable white appendages, down there at the end of his abdomen, the parts he uses to clasp the female in the mating grip.

Just Ds

Blue-fronted Dancer (Argia apicalis).These were found around the Bronx River in the Thane Forest at the NYBG. They get a good distance away from the water, for damselflies. All the above are males. The tan one is a juvenile. Here’s a brown form female. A blue form female. Complicated, eh? Add the juvenile female, and you have five basic versions of this one species.

And so small.For instance, you know how small duckweed is, right? This is a male Skimming Bluet (Enallagma geminatum); they run from about 0.8″-1.1″. Male clasping female right behind the head. He will hold her while she oviposits. First time I’ve seen this species. You can just see the distinctive wavy line on segment two. These were in the pond at the end of Wetlands Trail.Male Azure Bluet (Enallagma aspersum), in the duckweed-free Native Plant Garden. Neon blue at both ends. The Garden is overrun with fans of Dale Chihuly’s corporate-friendly glasswork and missing the real fireworks. (A week later, by the way, there was only one Azure Bluet to be seen of the dozens and dozens seen earlier.)

D&D Tuesday

D&D stands for Damselflies & Dragonflies. At least here it does. This is a Great Blue Skimmer male (Libellula vibrans).This one is actually fairly red, so feel free to curse this backlighting. A Calico Pennant (Celithemis elisa). A first for me.
Female Needham’s Skimmer (Libellula needhami). Another first-time sighting. And the male Needham’s, I believe.Another view of this perching-by-the-pond-(the female was off a way in the meadow)-at- the-limit-of-my-optics dragonfly.

These were all spotted on Staten Island, the Odonata hub of the five boroughs.

*
FYI: Geoff Wisner will be reading from his juicy collection Thoreau’s Animals tomorrow in Inwood.

D&D Roundup

Fragile Forktail (Ischnura posita) female. Eastern Pondhawk (Erythemis simplicicollis) male.Familiar Bluet (Enallagma civile) male.Eastern Amberwing (Perithemis tenera) male.Sometimes, we must work with the image. This looks like a Stream Bluet (Enallagma exsulans), a new species for me. Only segment 9 is completely blue; the blue rings on the other abdominal segments are conspicuous. Plus habitat is a good tell: this the “most common species at running waters” says Ed Lam. Of, course there isn’t much running water in Brooklyn. I saw this one on the Cross River.

*

Let’s review. A President elected by a minority of voters. Who has utter contempt for truth, justice, and the American way. Who has a clear affinity for authoritarianism. Who is a monstrously corrupt kleptocrat who privileges the family businesses over the nation’s. Who has a cabinet of ideological horrors dedicated to stripping away protections of our food, water, workplaces, & etc. Who is backed by a shameless and ruthless party of corporate plutocracy (and racism, to keep the serfs on board) dedicated to the annulment of democracy (voter suppression and gerrymandering for a start).

How long will the Republic last this assault? Yet, as David Cole notes in this interview, we still have a huge advantage in defending our rights and liberties against this clear and present danger: a very robust civil society and an independent judiciary.  Above all, citizenship!

The old American mule, as sick as she is, hasn’t been ground into burgers yet!

Ebony Jewelwing

Flying moth-like on broad dark wings, their abdomens metallic green or blue, depending on the light, Calopteryx maculata are probably the most recognizable of our damselflies.Males are pictured above. These and the females below were spotted around the Cross River in the Ward Pound Ridge Reserve in Westchester County. I’ve not seen them in NYC*.The females have distinctive white pseugostigmas.

*They have been documented on Staten Island. In the 2009 state odonate survey, Staten Island (Richmond Co.) had 75 species of dragonflies and damselflies; Brooklyn (Kings Co.) had 23. I’ve tallied 24 species in Brooklyn.

Odonata Days

Well, I’ve finally seen a damselfly this year. Yesterday, I saw exactly two at the Sylvan Water in Green-Wood. I didn’t have my camera with me, but I did find something to share with you. This is an exuvia, the shed husk of the underwater larval stage of damsel- and dragonflies. This one is a damselfly, I think. UPDATED: I’m thinking wrong. Above is a dragonfly. Damselflies, like the one below, have three appendages coming off the end of the abdomen; these are external gills. And this one looks to be a dragonfly. SEE ABOVE. However, this one didn’t make it. (The larvae emerge from the water, grab a hold of something, and then the adult breaks through the husk, to harden its exoskeleton over the next hours.) The only dragonflies about the Sylvan Water were Eastern Amberwings. The Valley Water, site of many previous Odonata adventures, had no sign of either damsels or dragons. There are no lily pads there now, and judging from last year, I suspect it will not be very productive as we get further into the heat of summer. The lily pads were the great sport and joy of several species.

Rambur’s Forktail

Ischnura ramburiiI’ve spotted another Brooklyn damselfly species, bringing my NYC list up to nine species. This is a male Rambur’s Forktail (Ischnura ramburii). Approximately 1.25″ long. He was flitting about the edge of Green-Wood’s Sylvan Water among a fair number of Familiar Bluets.Enallagma civileThis is a pair of Familiars (Enallagma civile) in the mating grip: the male will hold on as the female lays her eggs, and even when she’s not, which precludes another male from assuming the position.

According to odonate master Ed Lam, there’s a population of Rambur’s at Jamaica Bay and they will sometimes stray inland.


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