Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Species Spotlight: Blue-eyed Darner

One of the most striking dragonflies in the western United States is the Blue-eyed Darner. It is large and brilliantly blue in color. In fact, it's one of those dragonflies that you can easily identify on the wing.

Its range is primarily the western half of the United States, but one has to wonder about those errant reports from Cape Cod and Mexico.

Blue-eyed Darners perch in bushes at about chest height, typical hanging vertically like a Christmas ornament.

If you see one perched, try to get a good look at its wonderful blue eyes. Notice that its face is also blue, as are the stripes on the thorax.

As if all of these characteristics weren't enough to identify the Blue-eyed Darner, it has another unique feature—forked appendages.

One additional interesting feature is a small bump—tubercle—on the underside of segment 1 of the female. Here's a view of the bump:

This picture was taken at a fountain in Butchart Gardens last July.

Here's a pair of Blue-eyed Darners in the wheel position.

Be sure to look for this dragonfly in the coming few months. It's an early flyer, and is not seen very often after mid to late summer.

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