Friday, January 20, 2017

Species Spotlight: American Emerald

Happy New Year, 2017!

Since it's winter, and dragonflies are few and far between, it's a good time to review some of the species we'll be seeing later this year. This is the first in a series of Species Spotlights to get us ready for the upcoming season.

One of the more elusive dragonflies in Anacortes is the American Emerald.  So far, we've only seen this species in June and July, and even then it's usually just one or two observations.

The American Emerald is an easy dragonfly to ID.  Here's a shot showing the main field marks:

Of course, the most striking field mark for this species is the intense, emerald-green color of the eyes.  Overall, this dragonfly looks black in flight, but when it turns toward you the eyes flash a brilliant green.

The second distinguishing field mark is the white ring at the base of the abdomen.  This can be seen clearly below:

The similar-looking Ringed Emerald has a white ring at the base of each segment of the abdomen.

This is a beautiful and intriguing dragonfly.  It's always a special treat to see one of them flying around Cranberry Lake.

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