Posts Tagged 'Odonata'

Red Meadowhawks

Obelisking meadowhawk of the Sympetrum genus. This abdomen-up position minimizes the amount of heat hitting the body.The Sympetrum are difficult to distinguish out-of-hand in the field. This could be the White-faced, Cherry-faced, or Ruby-Faced.This male was the only specimen seen at NYBG. The females are even harder to distinguish, but they all know the drill: the sex parts are all unique for the individual species. This dragon made many sorties and perched in multiple spots within a very short compass, but he always faced the pond.Another, this time on Staten Island. Note that segment 2 of the abdomen doesn’t seem as keel-like as the one in the first three pictures. Also the only example seen at this location. They seem to like the perch and foray style, unlike, say, the gliders, which are constantly on patrol in the air.

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.

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.

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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.

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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.

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.

Maryland Monument Dasher

wreathTwo hundred and forty years ago today, the British and their Hessian swine-mercenaries walloped the still-loose conglomeration that was the Continental Army in Brooklyn. There’s a memorial in Prospect Park to the Maryland 400, troops who held the Old Stone House (the existing structure in J. J. Byrne Park is a recreation) down in the Gowanus while the rest of Washington’s soldiers made a pell-mell strategic retreat to Brooklyn Heights, and thence across the river. Geo. is supposed to have said “what brave fellows I must this day lose” about the sacrificial Marylanders.

Yet the British unaccountably did not press their advantage in Brooklyn. They occupied New York, but lost their opportunity of crushing the new American army right here. Big mistake. This, by the way, is also why we don’t have a national health system today.

Someone has laid a fresh wreath on the memorial in honor of the 400.

A pair of Blue Dasher dragonflies, concerned with their own history, were using the fence to tee up. This is the female.


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