Monday, August 3, 2009
Dragonfly Lifers #12-13
My pursuit of new dragonflies has been pushed to the back burner during the last few works while I was working at camp, but I've scored two new species recently. I'd better hustle out searching for dragonflies in the next few weeks before they start to disappear!
The first one is a bit graphic. I'd noticed dozens of small damselflies flitting about the neighborhood lake, and narrowed them down to Bluet sp. To positively identify them, I collected one and looked at the tip of its terminal abdomen appendage under a microscope. I was able to positively identify it as a Tule Bluet (Enallagma carunculatum.)
This afternoon, while photographing dragonflies at the neighborhood lake, I came across this skimmer. I assumed it was a Flame Skimmer at first, but after photographing it and looking it up in my field guide I believe it is actually the very similar Neon Skimmer (Libellula croceipennis.) The lack of dark brown streaks on the wings and the brilliant reddish orange abdomen seem good for this species.
I was also able to drastically improve on my photos of Red-tailed Pennant (Brachymesia furcata.) One has been hanging out at the lake in my neighborhood, but it usually stays well from the edge, flying constant low over the water and rarely landing. Today I noticed that it was sitting on a small reed a few feet from the edge of the lake. Unfortunately, it was facing away and the light was bad, so a good photo did not seem possible. The opportunity was too good to pass up; I hiked up my shorts and gingerly stepped into the shallow water of the lake. I maneuvered through the disgusting water and slime until I was close to the dragonfly with the sun at my back. Hardly pleasant, but I'm happy with the result.