Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Season's Feastings, the Odonate Way


It’s Thanksgiving time in the US, and I’ve been wondering how I could possibly tie a post about dragonflies and damselflies to the holiday. It’s far too chilly and sunless around here to show any odonates enjoying the season. The best I could come up with was a bunch of photos of dragonflies and damselflies eating to their hearts’ content. That is, after all, how many Thanksgiving celebrants observe the day.

Monday, November 19, 2012

High Speed Video of Flying Dragonflies

I recently became reacquainted with this interesting National Science Foundation video on YouTube, and I thought it was worth sharing. Titled Science Nation - Dragonflies: The Flying Aces of the Insect World, it features a species of the eastern United States, Spangled Skimmer (Libellula cyanea), in high speed video clips as it flies and catches prey. At least three other species, and I think a fourth, make cameo appearances in the video as well. Can you spot them all?

If you haven’t seen it already, it’s worth a look. If you have seen it before, it’s worth another look (the video is only two and a half minutes). There is something very calming—almost mesmerizing—about flying dragonflies captured on high speed video.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

The Broken Wheel (When Dragonfly Sex Goes Wrong)


I recently devoted a post to the Olive Clubtail, Stylurus olivaceus, but here’s another photo of the species you might find interesting.

Friday, November 9, 2012

The Foot High Club

 
A few years ago this coupling couple of Carmine Skimmers (Orthemis discolor) were flying low over a ditch in Cahuita, Costa Rica. Odonates frequently fly while copulating—they do it all the time, actually—but this was the only instance that I managed to photograph (and end up with something other than an unidentifiable blur). In case you were wondering, the Carmine Skimmer is not a species any reasonable odonatist can expect to see in the Pacific Northwest. Not yet...

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Olive Clubtail (Stylurus olivaceus): The Lower Columbia's Gomphid


 
Pacific Northwest members of the dragonfly family Gomphidae—the clubtails, are mostly species of the height of the summer season. Even though daylight hours are waning after the summer solstice, daytime temperatures continue to rise and sunny, dry days are increasingly expected. During this time most gomphids are out in force and doing what gomphids do. One species, however—the Olive Clubtail, Stylurus olivaceus—is just starting to emerge while other gomphids are at the zenith of their adult activity.