Posts Tagged 'damselflies'

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.And this one looks to be a dragonfly. 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.

Orange Bluet

Enallagma signatumMost of the bluet damselflies are, you guessed it, blue, but this one bucks the trend. Sort of: this is a mature male, but when he was younger, he had blue markings instead of these orange ones. Enallagma signatumEnallagma signatum.

Seaside Dragonlet

Erythrodiplax bereniceThis is a female Seaside Dragonlet (Erythrodiplax berenice), spotted recently on Plumb Beach. This is the only American species of dragonfly that breeds in salt water, in this case probably the saltwater marsh tucked behind the beach. To be honest, I couldn’t see any of the handsome orange and black patterning on the abdomen and thorax  in the bright sunlight. It was only after looking at the pictures later that I could identify this one.Erythrodiplax bereniceSo this makes for 16 species of dragonflies I’ve identified within New York City. This has all been by eye (and lens-enchanced eye); hardcore odonate-philes will net specimens. (Would definitely get a few more if I snagged ’em of the air and examined closely, but I’m guessing that would not be a pleasant experience for them.) All of these have been in Brooklyn except the Unicorn Clubtail. I have not explored Staten Island, the ode mecca of the city, nearly enough.

Common Green Darner (Anax junius)
Unicorn Clubtail (Arigomphus villosipes) *Bronx
Swamp Darner (Epiaeschna héros)
Common/Eastern Pondhawk (Erythemis simpliciollis)
Seaside Dragonlet (Erythrodiplax berenice)
Twelve-spotted Skimmer (Libellula pulchella)
Painted Skimmer (Libellula semifasciata)
Great Blue Skimmer (Libellula vibrans)
Blue Dasher (Pachydiplax longipennis)
Wandering Glider (Pantala flavescens)
Spot-winged Glider (Pantala hymenaea)
Eastern Amberwing (Perithemis genera)
Common Whitetail (Plathemis lydia)
Autumn Meadowhawk (Sympetrum vicinum)
Carolina Saddlebags (Tramea carolina)
Black Saddlebags (Tramea lacerata)

Here are all my dragonfly posts.

And here are damselfly species I’ve IDed in NYC, a harder proposition since they’re generally so much smaller. (And when I say I’ve IDed them, that means I’ve often had help from the Northeast Odonata group on Facebook.)

Blue-fronted Dancer (Argia apicalis)
Azure Bluet (Enallagma aspersum)
Familiar Bluet (Enallagama civile)
Orange Bluet (Enallagma signatum)
Citrine Forktail (Ishnura hastata)
Lilypad Forktail (Ischnura kellicotti)
Fragile Forktail (Ischnura posita)
Eastern Forktail (Ischnura verticalis)

Check out this NYS odonate survey completed in 2010. 22 species of d & d were noted in Kings County (Brooklyn), an estimated 75% of what they thought there should be. The Seaside Dragonlet was NOT recorded on that survey, although it was in the historic records they consulted so they counted it.

Damsel

Enallagma signatumActually, it’s the tiny fly (?) this male Orange Bluet (Enallagma signatum) has just devoured who was the subject in distress. You can see a tiny-wing leftover.

Bugs At Last!

You’ve been waiting patiently all winter long for some serious insect life to liven things up. This was the week!
Coleomegilla maculataTwo color variations of the Spotted Lady Beetle (Coleomegilla maculata).Coleomegilla maculataThese are in the Coccinellidae family of ladybugs, but clearly not the usual rounded shape of the classic VW. Sure are spotty, though: another common name for them is Twelve-Spotted Lady Beetle. I wasn’t familiar with these.Ischnura positaThe first damselfly I’ve seen this season is our old friend the Fragile Forktail (Ischnura posita). There was another smaller species flitting about that eluded my lens.IMG_6776These were tiny and, presumably, larval. But larval what is the question.Polygonia commaSeen at a distance yet still identifiable with that Comma (Polygonia comma) mark!

Bonus: All of the above were spotted in Great Swamp NWR. Here in the city, massive Carpenter Bees are buzzing around wood (houses, benches, telephone poles, etc.) now looking for a place to nest. On the desolation called 4th Avenue, there’s a tiny patch of ground behind the 36th subway entrance, between fences (Green-Wood is beyond), that seems to be attracting some ground nesters as well.

Orange Is the New Bluet

Enallagma signatumA male Orange Bluet (Enallagma signatum) in the afternoon sun.


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