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.

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Painted Skimmer

We just returned from a trip back east, where we attended a wedding and saw some interesting birds and odonates. On the ode side of the ledger, we spotted a particularly striking species in a retention pond across the street from our hotel outside of Boston. Here's the pond:

It's interesting how even the most ordinary little pond can be full of life, with turtles, snakes, frogs, dragonflies, damselflies, birds, and many other creatures calling these waters home.

The first dragonfly we saw at the pond was an eastern species that we would never see on the west coast, the Painted Skimmer. Here's a look at this handsome fellow:

I was struck by how similar the abdomen of this species is to the abdomen of the Four-spotted Skimmer we have in the west. Here's the Four-spotted Skimmer for comparison:

Notice especially the similarity in the coloration of the abdomen, and in the shape and white wing veins of the basal wing patches.

Once we got back home we saw many Four-spotted Skimmers, a reminder of our trip back east.