Wednesday, March 30, 2016

First Damselfly of the Year, 2016

We saw our first damselfly of the year, Rambur's Forktail, the same day we saw the first dragonfly.  It flew on by us, however – surprisingly quickly for such a small insect – never to be seen again.

It was immediately recognizable by its green thorax and blue-tipped abdomen.  There's another forktail that's similar, the Desert Forktail, but it has yellow on the sides of the abdomen that extends up onto the top of the abdomen.  In Rambur's Forktail the yellow on the abdomen terminates in a nice, clean straight line about halfway up.  We haven't seen a Desert Forktail at our backyard pond, so we were pretty sure we were seeing a Rambur's Forktail.

A week or so later we went to Wild Horse Pass, and there we saw several Rambur's Forktails that were perching for us.  Here's a view of a male Rambur's Forktail at Wild Horse Pass:

Notice the green on the head and thorax, the blue tip to the abdomen, and the lack of yellow on the top of the abdomen.

Here's another male seen later the same day:

Heteromorphic females (those that don't look like males) start off bright orange when young, but with age turn more brownish and greenish.  Here's an immature heteromorphic female seen the same day at Wild Horse Pass:

Notice the nice straight line between the light color on the bottom of the abdomen, and the black on top – similar to the line of demarcation in the male.  We saw the female interact with a male, but she fended it off and they went their separate ways without mating.

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