Posts Tagged 'dragonflies'

Migrating Gliders

Pantala hymenaeaYou may wait a long time before one of these gliders comes to a stop. Both the Spot-winged (Pantala hymenaea) and Wandering Glider (Pantala flavescens) dragonflies seem to spend their whole working day in the air. These are the constantly moving yellow to golden dragonflies that are now being seen above our meadows and grassy swards. Their zig-zaggy dance is hypnotic.

I think we have more Spot-winged than Wandering, but I don’t net the critters out of the air, so I can’t say for sure. Whichever, Green-Wood has been a good place for them recently. A dozen or more at a time, clearly onto something edible which we can’t even see. And if you look in the distance and the light is right, there are even more. At eye-height or above, or lower. Moving, moving moving.

But perhaps if you’re doing something else, you’ll catch one taking a break. We were underneath a Persimmon tree. This Spot-winged slipped under the canopy to perch above us: it was taking shelter, out of sight of predators and… well, not this paparazzo.Pantala hymenaeaThis is only the second time I’ve ever seen one of these perched. The spots (really more like fat commas) on the hind wings  are close to the body and fairly subtle, almost impossible to see in the air. (Clicking on these images will open them to a larger version.)

Both of these Pantala species are migratory.

The Dragons Are Hunting

IMG_8947The shed exuvia of an Odonata. Dragon- and damselflies spend their larval stage underwater. These voraciously predatory nymphs climb up on reeds and other vertical structures, anchor themselves, and begin to break out and unfurl their wings, harden off, and then take to the air, leaving these ghostly husks behind.Perithemis teneraA male Eastern Amberwing (Perithemis tenera), our smallest dragonfly. Some damselfly species are actually longer. Erythemis simplicicollisA male Eastern Pondhawk (Erythemis simplicicollis), I think; the tell-tale wing markings are obscure here and I’m rusty…

Eastern Amberwing

Perithemis teneraOur smallest dragonfly species, the Eastern Amberwing (Perithemis tenera). This is a male. A female was also seen dipping her abdomen down into a lens of water atop a waterlily leaf, depositing her eggs. Blue Dashers, Green Darners, and Black Saddlebags were also about, but we certainly haven’t yet hit peak dragonfly.

Meadowhawks

IMG_4881It was a bright, cool day at Great Swamp NWR on Saturday. Insect life was particularly subdued; it is almost December, after all. I saw a fly and heard a cricket. Sympetrum vicinumThere were a few Autumn Meadowhawks (Sympetrum vicinum), though, and presumably they are eating something. Above is a male.Sympetrum vicinumHere’s a a female, not nearly as autumnally red.Sympetrum vicinumOne of her hind wings is missing a chunk. Here she perches on my pants.

The Sympetrum are late season fliers, and boy, even in this record-breakingly — every month is now record-breaking — warm month, is it late.

Sympetrum

SympetrumInsects are becoming fewer and far between now that autumn is upon us. One of the last dragonfly species to be seen are the Sympetrum Meadowhawks, red-bodied and small.There were a few active at midday on Friday at the NYBG.Sympetrum

Unsaddled

Tramea lacerataThe remains of a Black Saddlebags (Tramea lacerata), narrowly missed on the sidewalk.

Autumn Meadowhawk

Sympetrum vicinumAn immature or teneral male Sympetrum vicinum in Green-Wood. Sympetrum vicinumWhen mature, this small dragonfly will be a beautiful shade of red, and a representative of one of the few dragonfly species to be seen locally into October. The yellow-legs will stay this color: an alternate common name is Yellow-legged Meadowhawk. Sympetrum vicinumHaving recently emerged from its larval stage, probably in the nearby Valley Water, this young adult had to harden up its exoskeleton and wings before flying. It’s probably still getting used to flight, and was very nonchalant about my phone pointing at it.The teneral stage lasts about a week as the animal gets its mature coloring. Here’s what they look like mature.


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