Thursday, August 22, 2019

ICO 2019: Eastern Amberwing

Another species we saw on our Texas trip, the Eastern Amberwing, was one we were familiar with from our visits to the east coast. Here's a male from the east coast:



Notice the hamules under the second segment of the abdomen. Also, note the appendages, which are small in this species, but larger in the male than in the female. Here's another look at an east coast male:



Again, take note of the appendages. Also, notice that the wings are basically uniform amber, and the stigmas are red.

For comparison, here's the female of the species from the east coast:





Notice the broad abdomen, the tiny, vestigial appendages, and the splotchy wings. We also see that the stigmas are brownish in the female.

In Texas, we saw only females, and they were all obelisking like crazy in the intense heat. Here's a side view:



Here's another obelisking female, this time from behind:



Note again the broad abdomen, and the tiny appendages.

As I said, we didn't see any males on this trip, and the females were all well away from the water perching in the vegetation.

Monday, August 19, 2019

ICO 2019: Thornbush Dasher

Here's a species whose name we weren't even aware of before running into one of them in Texas. We went to the Southeast Metro Park near the Austin Airport, where there's a nice pond populated with lots of dragonflies. We spotted a small, cute dragonfly, and immediately recognized it as a new species for us.

Heres' the individual we saw:



It looks a lot like an immature male Blue Dasher on the head and thorax, but the abdomen is quite different, with a distinctive row of cream spots, culminating in a pair of large spots on segment 7.

This species is known for drooping its wings and raising its abdomen in an obelisk pose when perched. Here he is taking a look at me from under his dorsal fovea.



This is a small dragonfly, and quite inconspicuous in the brush along the shore.



How nice to find a species we didn't even know existed before!

Monday, August 12, 2019

ICO 2019: Halloween Pennant

Another striking species we saw on the Texas trip was the Halloween Pennant. We've seen this species before, but it's always a treat to see it again.

Here's a male patrolling his territory:



Notice the beautiful coloration and bands in the wings. In addition, note the pink stigma near the tips of the wings.

Here we see a couple males vying for the same territory:



The female is a lighter-colored version of the male, with yellow stigma:



Next, we see a female Halloween Pennant perched near a Red Saddlebags, also a common species on the Texas ponds we visited.



We always enjoy seeing the Halloween Pennant.

Thursday, August 8, 2019

The Whisperer Speaks!

The Dragonfly Whisperer will be speaking this evening at the Adopt-A-Stream Foundation in Everett, WA.



The talk will begin at 7:00 pm.



Here's a brief description of the talk:



I hope to see you there!

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

ICO 2019: Widow Skimmer

Another beautiful dragonfly we saw in Texas during the ICO meeting was the Widow Skimmer, so named for the dark patches in its wings that look a bit like mourning cloaks. We saw this species at both the retention pond in Austin, and at the Southeast Metropolitan Park south of Austin, near the airport.

The males are most commonly seen, since they are always on patrol to defend their territories and search for females. Here's a male at the retention pond:



The black patches on the wings were impressively deep and dark, in striking contrast to the white pruinosity.

Here's a side view of a male at the Southeast Metro Park:



Notice the prominent hamules on the underside of the abdomen, near where the abdomen joins with the thorax. The hamules are a sure sign we're looking at a male.

Now for a top view of a different male at this park:



Finally, we did manage to spot one female, resting inconspicuously in the bushes. Here she is:



Notice her tiny, well-separated appendages, wide abdomen, and pale dark patches.

We've seen this species before in a number of places, but I think the most strikingly beautiful individuals were the ones we saw in Texas.

Saturday, July 27, 2019

ICO 2019: Four-spotted Pennant

We saw quite a few species of dragonflies in the Austin area, where the 2019 International Congress of Odonatology was held. Most of these species were ones that we would never see here in Anacortes. It was hot in Austin, usually around 99 ˚F, and very humid to boot. In short, it was cooking out there—but that was great as far as the dragonflies were concerned.

In the next few posts, I'll share with you some of the beautiful species we encountered on our trip, starting with dragonflies we saw in a storm retention pond near our hotel.

The first dragonfly we saw was the Four-spotted Skimmer. A dark dragonfly with prominent wing patches and white stigmas, it was very numerous at the retention pond. Here's a look at one of the males:



There was a lot of obelisking going on in these hot conditions. Here are some examples:







These last few shots are of a female, and it appears some eggs may be extruding from the tip of her abdomen.

The next shot shows some of the variation seen in the abdomen color, which darkens with age:



This was the most common species at the retention pond.

Saturday, July 13, 2019

The Whisperer Speaks!

This coming week, July 14-19, the International Congress of Odonatology meets in Austin Texas. Here's a poster for the event:



Here's an overview of the schedule of events:



The dragonfly whisperer will be there. In fact, I'll be giving two separate talks on Tuesday morning. The talks will focus on the two species seen in the following photo, the Paddle-tailed Darner (right) and the Autumn Meadowhawk (left):



The Paddle-tailed Darner, the Happy-face Dragonfly, is featured in the first talk, Spin-Dry Dragonflies: Nature's Fastest Spinners. This talk explores the splash-dunk/spin-dry suite of behaviors, and includes many slow-motion videos.

The second talk, Egg Laying in Autumn Meadowhawks, describes the unique egg-laying behavior of Autumn Meadowhawks. Again, slow-motion videos show the behavior in full detail.

Stop by and say hello if you're in attendance.