Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Dragonflies - Odonata - Libellules

So when I was at my friend's cottage, I went out kayaking on the river. There was a small inlet not far downstream of us, where I found an unbelievable variety of dragonflies, many of which I had never seen before. The two most abundant types were a red one I have finally been able to identify as the calico pennant, Celithemis elisa.  The second is a black one with ice-blue markings, which I believe is the chalk-fronted corporal, Ladona julia. There were also quite a lot of monstrously huge dragonflies with ultra blue abdomens and dark green thoraxes which I didn't get a chance to photograph; they never seemed to land anywhere. I will say tentatively that they were probably common green darner dragonflies.

These dragonflies were incredibly difficult to photograph but I'm glad I succeeded in getting even these few shots.

C. elisa lateral view
I found this particular dragonfly to be a stunningly beautiful creature. I like this shot a great deal because it shows just how vibrantly red it is.

C. elisa top view
My kayak was unfortunately drifting, and you can see from the shadows of my hands that I was already reaching a point where I could simply not reach with my right hand anymore when I took this shot. I was so disappointed to see that I had clipped the wings on one side in this photo, which is otherwise perfect. I suppose I'll just have to try again sometime. At least in this photo the wing patterns are very clear. Aside from the lower wing near the thorax, the spots are not quite red, looking more muted and brownish to me.

 L. julia
I think at this moment I really must give my thanks to the folks over at Discover Life, who regularly make it possible for me to identify fauna that I wouldn't be able to without their excellent searching tool. Super cool resource, very usable. It's my go-to resource for identifying interesting insects.

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