Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Species Spotlight: Beaverpond Baskettail

Beaverpond Baskettail. What an interesting, alliterative name for a dragonfly. The beaverpond part of it makes sense, given it's habitat, but the last part of the name is a bit odd—especially with those two ts together.

In any case, this is a dragonfly that isn't seen that often in my home area, so it's always a treat when I get to see one. A member of the emerald family, it has beautiful eyes—as you can see in the older male (notice the scuffed wings) shown below:

This male shows the basic features of the species, including the small dark patch in the wings, near the base, and the "pistol-shaped" appendages that distinguish this species from the similar Spiny Baskettail, whose appendages have a simple shape. Some people say the upper appendages (cerci) look like the head of a dog. To me they look like a pistol pointing forward, with the handle coming down at a right angle to the barrel. Also, notice that its front two legs are "tucked up" behind its head—a common resting position.

As mentioned, the eyes of Beaverpond Basketballs are their most striking feature. Here is young male showing off his lavender eyes:

What beautiful eyes you have. Here's a closer look:

If you get a chance to see this species, be sure to get a good look at its eyes!

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