Meet the Beetles, Part 1 – Bess Beetle and Stag Beetle

July 26, 2015

Let’s begin by learning to differentiate a couple of beetles that look somewhat similar: Bess Beetle (Odontotaenius disjunctus); and Reddish-brown Stag Beetle (Lucanus capreolus).

Bess Beetles are big and glossy black. Their exoskeleton reminds me of patent leather shoes. At 30-40 mm in length (~1.0-1.5 inches), Bess Beetles are one of the larger beetles commonly seen in forested parks such as Huntley Meadows Park.

A Bess Beetle (Odontotaenius disjunctus) spotted at Huntley Meadows Park, Fairfax County, Virginia USA.

15 MAY 2015 | HMP | Bess Beetle

Bess Beetles live inside rotting logs in forests, although I have see them quite often crossing the gravel trail that goes through the forest at Huntley Meadows.

A Bess Beetle (Odontotaenius disjunctus) spotted at Huntley Meadows Park, Fairfax County, Virginia USA.

15 MAY 2015 | HMP | Bess Beetle

Notice the Bess Beetle has a striated, or grooved abdomen; Reddish-brown Stag Beetle has a smooth abdomen.

A Bess Beetle (Odontotaenius disjunctus) spotted at Huntley Meadows Park, Fairfax County, Virginia USA.

15 MAY 2015 | HMP | Bess Beetle

Reddish-brown Stag Beetles are, well, reddish-brown, and at 20-36 mm sans mandibles (~0.7-1.4), almost as big as Bess Beetles.

A Reddish-brown Stag Beetle (Lucanus capreolus) spotted at Huntley Meadows Park, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. This individual is a female.

17 JUL 2015 | HMP | Reddish-brown Stag Beetle (female)

This individual is a female, as indicated by the size of its mandibles. Females have smaller mandibles than males.

“Males use [their larger] mandibles to fight at breeding sites.” Source Credit: Species Lucanus capreolus – Reddish-brown Stag Beetle.

A Reddish-brown Stag Beetle (Lucanus capreolus) spotted at Huntley Meadows Park, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. This individual is a female.

17 JUL 2015 | HMP | Reddish-brown Stag Beetle (female)

Adult stag beetles feed on tree sap; larvae feed on rotting logs. This individual was spotted near a large, man-made brush pile.

Copyright © 2015 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

A Southern Fortnight, Part 5 – Southern Spreadwing damselflies (mating pairs, in tandem)

July 24, 2015

The Backstory: A Southern Fortnight

For the first two weeks during May 2015, Southern Spreadwing damselflies (Lestes australis) were observed at a vernal pool and nearby drainage ditch in the forest at Huntley Meadows Park. I spotted approximately six males and several females during the fortnight. Their sudden disappearance seemed to coincide with a population explosion of Eastern Pondhawk dragonflies (Erythemis simplicicollis) in mid-May. Eastern Pondhawks, especially females, are voracious predators with a penchant for preying upon damselflies.


The following annotated image illustrates some of the reproductive anatomy of male and female Southern Spreadwings.

A mating pair of Southern Spreadwing damselflies (Lestes australis) spotted at Huntley Meadows Park, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. This pair is in tandem; the female is laying eggs (oviposition).

08 MAY 2015 | HMP | Southern Spreadwing (mating pair, in tandem)

The male uses his claspers to hold the female by her neck as he guides her to places where she can lay eggs (oviposit).

A mating pair of Southern Spreadwing damselflies (Lestes australis) spotted at Huntley Meadows Park, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. This pair is in tandem; the female is laying eggs (oviposition).

08 MAY 2015 | HMP | Southern Spreadwing (mating pair, in tandem)

The female uses her ovipositor to insert eggs into vegetation (endophytic oviposition).

A mating pair of Southern Spreadwing damselflies (Lestes australis) spotted at Huntley Meadows Park, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. This pair is in tandem; the female is laying eggs (oviposition).

08 MAY 2015 | HMP | Southern Spreadwing (mating pair, in tandem)

A mating pair may spend up to an hour in tandem, although in my limited experience, tandem egg-laying lasted approximately 10-15 minutes.

A mating pair of Southern Spreadwing damselflies (Lestes australis) spotted at Huntley Meadows Park, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. This pair is in tandem; the female is laying eggs (oviposition).

07 MAY 2015 | HMP | Southern Spreadwing (mating pair, in tandem)

Both sexes average two matings during lifetime. Source Credit: Paulson, Dennis (2011-12-19). Dragonflies and Damselflies of the East (Princeton Field Guides) (Kindle Location 1577). Princeton University Press. Kindle Edition.

A mating pair of Southern Spreadwing damselflies (Lestes australis) spotted at Huntley Meadows Park, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. This pair is in tandem; the female is laying eggs (oviposition).

07 MAY 2015 | HMP | Southern Spreadwing (mating pair, in tandem)

Related Resources:

Copyright © 2015 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

After the boys of summer have gone

July 22, 2015

Common Sanddragon (Progomphus obscurus) is a member of the Clubtail Family of dragonflies that is spotted during June and July in mid-Atlantic United States like Virginia. Common Sanddragons are habitat specialists that prefer sandy woodland streams, so don’t look for them in wetland areas like the hemi-marsh at Huntley Meadows Park.

This post features two male Common Sanddragon dragonflies, as indicated by their terminal appendages. As fate would have it, they are the last Sanddragons spotted during Summer 2015.

The water level was near the top of the stream banks after near record-setting rainfall for the month of June. (Notice the discoloration of the vegetation from siltation during a recent flood.)

A Common Sanddragon dragonfly (Progomphus obscurus) spotted at Dogue Creek, Huntley Meadows Park, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. This individual is a male.

29 JUN 2015 | Huntley Meadows Park | Common Sanddragon (male)

The conditions for hunting Sanddragons were less than ideal. Male Common Sanddragons prefer perching on a sandy beach, facing the water; there weren’t any beaches, so Sanddragons were forced to perch alongside the stream. Or on a log…any port in a storm, so to speak.

Don’t be misled by the following photograph. The male dragonfly, affectionately known as “Ziggy Stardust” (notice the letters “Z” and “S” on the front of his thorax), is actually perching horizontally on a fallen log across a flooded stream. Ziggy blocked my way as I tried to walk across the log. As he looked up at me I imagine he was thinking, “Hey buddy, where do you think you’re going? This is my log!”

A Common Sanddragon dragonfly (Progomphus obscurus) spotted at Barnyard Run, Huntley Meadows Park, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. This individual is a male.

29 JUN 2015 | Huntley Meadows Park | Common Sanddragon (male)

You had to go, I understand
But you swore you’d be back again
And so I’m frozen in this town
‘Til summer comes around
Source Credit: Lyrics, ‘Til Summer Comes Around.

Related Resources:

Copyright © 2015 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

HMP needs some Needham’s!

July 20, 2015

“Don’t it always seem to go that you don’t know what you got ’til it’s gone?” Source Credit: Big Yellow Taxi, Joni Mitchell.

Huntley Meadows Park (HMP), located in Fairfax County, Virginia USA, used to have a big breeding population of Needham’s Skimmer dragonflies (Libellula needhami). 2013 and 2014, not so much. We’re talking about spotting one or two individuals per year.

Is it a coincidence that the past two winters have been unusually cold in the mid-Atlantic states? Same question asked another way: Is there a reason Needham’s larvae would be less likely than other species of dragonflies to survive harsh winters? For example, Blue Dasher dragonflies (Pachydiplax longipennis) seem to be as abundant as ever. I consulted the experts of the Northeast Odonata Facebook group for answers to my questions.

Problem is I don’t think anyone knows the requirements that a breeding population of Needham’s needs to flourish. There could be other factors at play besides cold winters. Source Credit: Ed Lam, author and illustrator of Damselflies of the Northeast.

Alas, the virtual disappearance of Needham’s Skimmer from Huntley Meadows remains a puzzling mystery.

A Needham's Skimmer dragonfly (Libellula needhami) spotted at Huntley Meadows Park, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. This individual is a female.

05 JUL 2015 | Huntley Meadows Park | Needham’s Skimmer (female)

This individual is a female, as indicated by its terminal appendages. She is perching on a Tick Seed (Coreopsis grandiflora) flower dead-head.

A Needham's Skimmer dragonfly (Libellula needhami) spotted at Huntley Meadows Park, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. This individual is a female.

05 JUL 2015 | Huntley Meadows Park | Needham’s Skimmer (female)

This is only the second Needham’s Skimmer dragonfly that the author has spotted during 2015, both females. The first female is featured in another post that includes an annotated image illustrating several key field markers that may be used to identify Needham’s Skimmers.

A Needham's Skimmer dragonfly (Libellula needhami) spotted at Huntley Meadows Park, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. This individual is a female.

05 JUL 2015 | Huntley Meadows Park | Needham’s Skimmer (female)

Back in the good old days, Needham’s Skimmers were seen frequently everywhere in the central wetland area.

A Needham's Skimmer dragonfly (Libellula needhami) spotted at Huntley Meadows Park, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. This individual is a male.

24 JUN 2012 | Huntley Meadows Park | Needham’s Skimmer (male)

This individual is a male, as indicated by its reddish-orange coloration and the terminal appendages at the tip of its abdomen.

A Needham's Skimmer dragonfly (Libellula needhami) spotted at Huntley Meadows Park, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. This individual is a male.

24 JUN 2012 | Huntley Meadows Park | Needham’s Skimmer (male)

A Needham's Skimmer dragonfly (Libellula needhami) spotted at Huntley Meadows Park, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. This individual is a male.

24 JUN 2012 | Huntley Meadows Park | Needham’s Skimmer (male)

Copyright © 2015 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

Chesapeake Explorer

July 18, 2015

It is an honor to announce two of my photographs are featured in “Chesapeake Explorer,” a recently updated National Park Service Web site.

The first photo is featured on two pages: PLACES TO GO features a cropped thumbnail version of the photo; and ACCOTINK BAY WILDLIFE REFUGE features a full-size version of the photo.

Fishermen on Accotink Bay, Fairfax County, Virginia USA.

Fishermen on Accotink Bay

The photo was taken with a handheld Panasonic DMC-FZ150 superzoom bridge camera, using the following settings: ISO 100; 4.5mm (25mm, 35mm equivalent); 0 ev; f/3.6 plus manual focus, for maximum depth-of-field; 1/1000s.

The second photo is featured on three pages: HUNTLEY MEADOWS’ WETLANDS ATTRACT A VARIETY OF SPECIES, INCLUDING HUMANS features a thumbnail version of the photo; HUNTLEY MEADOWS PARK features a full-size version of the photo; and PHOTOGRAPHING NATURE AND WILDLIFE features a thumbnail version of the photo.

The observation tower located along the boardwalk at Huntley Meadows Park, Fairfax County, Virginia USA.

Three generations of nature appreciation

The photo was taken with a tripod-mounted Canon EOS 5D Mark II and Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II lens, using the following settings: ISO 100; 35mm; 0 ev; f/16; 1/50s.

Tech Tip: The point-of-contact at the National Park Service was able to find me as a result of the EXIF and IPTC information embedded in both photos. So what’s the take-away from this positive experience? Adding metadata to your photos is time well-spent!

Copyright © 2015 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

Widow Skimmer dragonfly (female)

July 16, 2015

Widow Skimmer dragonfly (Libellula luctuosa) was spotted on 05 July 2015 during a photowalk at Huntley Meadows Park (HMP). This individual is a female, as indicated by its coloration and terminal appendages.

Beware of look-alikes: Immature male and female Widow Skimmers look similar.

A Widow Skimmer dragonfly (Libellula luctuosa) spotted at Huntley Meadows Park, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. This individual is a female with a slightly malformed abdomen.

05 JUL 2015 | HMP | Widow Skimmer (female)

This individual has a slightly malformed abdomen, especially noticeable in the preceding photo.

A Widow Skimmer dragonfly (Libellula luctuosa) spotted at Huntley Meadows Park, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. This individual is a female with a slightly malformed abdomen.

05 JUL 2015 | HMP | Widow Skimmer (female)

A Widow Skimmer dragonfly (Libellula luctuosa) spotted at Huntley Meadows Park, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. This individual is a female with a slightly malformed abdomen.

05 JUL 2015 | HMP | Widow Skimmer (female)

A Widow Skimmer dragonfly (Libellula luctuosa) spotted at Huntley Meadows Park, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. This individual is a female with a slightly malformed abdomen.

05 JUL 2015 | HMP | Widow Skimmer (female)

I’m especially fond of head-tilts in which the dragonfly seems to display some of its personality.

A Widow Skimmer dragonfly (Libellula luctuosa) spotted at Huntley Meadows Park, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. This individual is a female with a slightly malformed abdomen.

05 JUL 2015 | HMP | Widow Skimmer (female)

A Widow Skimmer dragonfly (Libellula luctuosa) spotted at Huntley Meadows Park, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. This individual is a female with a slightly malformed abdomen.

05 JUL 2015 | HMP | Widow Skimmer (female)

A Widow Skimmer dragonfly (Libellula luctuosa) spotted at Huntley Meadows Park, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. This individual is a female with a slightly malformed abdomen.

05 JUL 2015 | HMP | Widow Skimmer (female)

Related Resources:

Copyright © 2015 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

Odonart

July 14, 2015

I’m a man of many monikers: sometimes I refer to myself as “Yodonata” when I’m wearing my teacher hat; other times, I like to think of myself as an “odonartist,” always on the lookout for somewhat elusive “arty” shots of odonates (dragonflies and damselflies). Today, I’m wearing both my teacher hat and artist hat, although I just can’t see myself wearing a beret!

[Reluctantly donning my beret…] I have photographed many Great Blue Skimmer dragonflies (Libellula vibrans) but I like the crisp, clean, and simple look of this image more than shots with a cluttered background. Very “arty.”

A Great Blue Skimmer dragonfly (Libellula vibrans) spotted at Huntley Meadows Park, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. This individual is a mature male.

17 JUN 2015 | HMP | Great Blue Skimmer (mature male)

[Swapping hats…] This individual is a mature male that has mated many times, as indicated by his coloration, terminal appendages, and scratches on the abdomen.

Males that have mated often have marks on their abdomen where the female legs have scratched them. This is especially obvious in species in which males develop pruinosity, as the pruinosity on the midabdomen is scratched off, and the signs are visible at some distance. Source Credit: Paulson, Dennis (2011-12-19). Dragonflies and Damselflies of the East (Princeton Field Guides) (Kindle Locations 390-392). Princeton University Press. Kindle Edition.

Copyright © 2015 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

Blues for “Bluets”

July 12, 2015

Regular readers of my photoblog know I love me some odonates! Mostly, that is. Many American Bluets, members of the Pond Damsels Family of damselflies, can be difficult to identify, especially in the field. There are many species of bluets, most of them are blue, and many of them look similar. Yes, sometimes I get the blues when trying to identify bluets — no wonder I lovingly refer to them as “damnselflies!”

Five species of bluets are listed on the Friends of Huntley Meadows Park Odonata species list of damselflies: Familiar Bluet (Enallagma civile); Big Bluet (Enallagma durum); Stream Bluet (Enallagma exsulans); Skimming Bluet (Enallagma geminatum); and Orange Bluet (Enallagma signatum).

Orange Bluets, named for their orange-and-black coloration, are easy to identify and relatively common in the central wetland area at the park.

The fact of the matter is you’re unlikely to see more than one or two of the blue bluets on the species list, so there should be no need to curse my little friends in frustration because you’re unable to identify them. Look closely at the pattern of blue-and-black markings on the abdomen of males and you should be able to easily differentiate the three species of bluets featured in this post. Identifying females can be a lot more challenging.

Familiar Bluet

In my experience, the only blue bluet you’re likely to see in the central wetland area at Huntley Meadows Park (HMP) is Familiar Bluet (Enallagma civile).

Familiar Bluet damselfly (male, in flight)

15 SEP 2014 | HMP | Familiar Bluet (male, in flight)

Stream Bluet

Stream Bluets (Enallagma exsulans) are relatively common along some of the streams that flow through Huntley Meadows Park, such as Barnyard Run.

A Stream Bluet damselfly (Enallagma exsulans) spotted at Huntley Meadows Park, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. This individual is a male.

24 JUN 2015 | HMP | Stream Bluet (male)

It’s helpful to get shots of mating pairs in tandem, since males and females of the same species can look quite different.

A mating pair of Stream Bluet damselflies (Enallagma exsulans) spotted at Huntley Meadows Park, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. This pair is in tandem.

10 JUL 2015 | HMP | Stream Bluets (mating pair, in tandem)

Female Stream Bluets are polymorphic, displaying either green or blue on the thorax. The green morph appears in the two photos of a mating pair of Stream Bluets featured in this post.

A mating pair of Stream Bluet damselflies (Enallagma exsulans) spotted at Huntley Meadows Park, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. This pair is in tandem.

10 JUL 2015 | HMP | Stream Bluets (mating pair, in tandem)

Big Bluet

The author has never seen a Big Bluet damselfly (Enallagma durum) at Huntley Meadows Park. My theory is the wetlands at the park are the wrong habitat for Big Bluets.

Habitat Large sandy lakes and lower reaches of rivers, even extending into brackish estuaries. Source Credit: Paulson, Dennis (2011-12-19). Dragonflies and Damselflies of the East (Princeton Field Guides) (Kindle Locations 2156-2157). Princeton University Press. Kindle Edition.

It’s noteworthy that the only location where I have seen Big Bluets is Accotink Bay Wildlife Refuge (ABWR), and Ken Larsen’s photo of a Big Bluet (linked from the FoHMP Odonata species list) is from Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge. Are you seeing the same pattern I see? The common keyword between our Big Bluet spottings is “bay.” Unless someone can show me a photograph of a Big Bluet spotted at Huntley Meadows Park, I feel strongly it should be deleted from the FoHMP Odonata species list.

A Big Bluet damselfly (Enallagma durum) spotted at Accotink Bay Wildlife Refuge, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. This individual is a male, shown eating an unknown insect.

17 SEP 2012 | ABWR | Big Bluet (male, eating prey)

The following poor quality photo is used to provide another illustration of the idea that it’s helpful to get shots of mating pairs in tandem, since males and females of the same species can look quite different. Female Big Bluets are polymorphic, displaying either brown or blue coloration. The brown morph is shown below.

A mating pair of Big Bluet damselflies (Enallagma durum) spotted at Accotink Bay Wildlife Refuge, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. This pair is in tandem.

10 SEP 2012 | ABWR | Big Bluet (mating pair, in tandem)

Related Resource: Dragonflies of Loudoun features a flight calendar for dragonflies and damselflies. Familiar Bluets are on the wing from July through September; Stream Bluets from May through August. Big Bluets aren’t listed. Hmmm, could it be because there aren’t any bays located in Loudoun County, Virginia?

Editor’s Note: The environment at Huntley Meadows Park may not be the ideal habitat for Skimming Bluet damselflies (Enallagma geminatum). The author has never seen a Skimming Bluet at the park, and the species isn’t linked from the FoHMP Odonata species list, suggesting Ken Larsen has never photographed one. If you have a photo of a Skimming Bluet at Huntley Meadows, then please contact me.

Copyright © 2015 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

European Hornet (female)

July 10, 2015

A European Hornet (Vespa crabro) was spotted at Huntley Meadows Park. “Vespa” is Italian for wasp; “crabro” is Latin for “hornet.” Source Credit: The latter etymology factoid courtesy BugGuide.

A European Hornet (Vespa crabro) spotted at Huntley Meadows Park, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. This individual is a female.

05 JUL 2015 | Huntley Meadows Park | European Hornet (female)

This individual is a female, as indicated by…

the shape of the head, the eyes, and the fact that she is feeding [see “The Backstory,” below]. Drones just sit on the nest, [waiting] for crop-outs (like hand-outs). Source Credit: Margarethe Brummermann, BugGuide Facebook group.

A European Hornet (Vespa crabro) spotted at Huntley Meadows Park, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. This individual is a female.

05 JUL 2015 | Huntley Meadows Park | European Hornet (female)

This female is at least an inch long and scary looking!

Being bigger, she packs more of a sting than the usual yellow jacket, but a single sting is just painful (if you aren’t allergic). But of course, she’s social and close to the nest you can expect an attack of many — that could be dangerous. Source Credit: Margarethe Brummermann, BugGuide Facebook group.

A European Hornet (Vespa crabro) spotted at Huntley Meadows Park, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. This individual is a female.

05 JUL 2015 | Huntley Meadows Park | European Hornet (female)

The Backstory

The hornet spent a lot of time sticking its head in a gooey crevice at the base of a tree, then it would groom for a long time afterward. Rinse and repeat, over and over.

A European Hornet (Vespa crabro) spotted at Huntley Meadows Park, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. This individual is a female.

05 JUL 2015 | Huntley Meadows Park | European Hornet (female)

Many insects crave fermenting substances. I suspect that sap is oozing from a [tree] wound and then turning to alcohol in the Sun. Source Credit: Eric Eaton, BugGuide Facebook group.

A European Hornet (Vespa crabro) spotted at Huntley Meadows Park, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. This individual is a female.

05 JUL 2015 | Huntley Meadows Park | European Hornet (female)

Grooming after feeding…

A European Hornet (Vespa crabro) spotted at Huntley Meadows Park, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. This individual is a female.

05 JUL 2015 | Huntley Meadows Park | European Hornet (female)

Editor’s Notes: Thanks to Eric Eaton, BugGuide Facebook group member, for identifying the hornet. Both Eric and Margarethe Brummermann provided lots of good hornet knowledge, quoted in this post.

Copyright © 2015 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

Parasitic water mites

July 8, 2015

Chiggers and ticks parasitize human odonate-hunters sometimes; water mites parasitize odonates sometimes. In my experience, some species of dragonflies seem to be more likely to be infested with water mites than others.

Lentic, slow moving water, ponds and temporary water are what mites need for their life cycle. The mites get onto late stage [odonate] nymphs, and then emerge with the nymph. As it ecloses the mites transfer to the adult damselfly, dragonfly. Life cycles of mite and host must be at stages where this can happen, so only certain species would probably be emerging at those times. Species that emerge earlier or later in the season probably wouldn’t have to deal with them. There’s more than one species of mite, so different species would emerge at different times. There is some reference in Corbet’s book [Corbet, Phillip S. (1962). A Biology of Dragonflies.] about some (grooming) species grooming themselves better, and knocking them off also, so they’ve evolved to attach to species where their life cycle can be completed. Some of these species disperse them well also. Nature is truly amazing! Source Credit: Stick LaPan, Northeast Odonata Facebook group.

Odonates and parasitic water mites are able to co-exist except in cases of extreme infestation, when parasitization can be fatal.

Halloween Pennant dragonfly (Celithemis eponina), spotted in a remote location at Huntley Meadows Park, has a mild infestation of black water mites. This individual is a female, as indicated by its coloration and terminal appendages.

A Halloween Pennant dragonfly (Celithemis eponina) spotted near Dogue Creek, Huntley Meadows Park, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. This individual is a female with a mild infestation of black water mites.

29 JUN 2015 | Huntley Meadows Park | Halloween Pennant (female)

The next photo shows the same female with another water mite attached to the underside of its abdomen.

A Halloween Pennant dragonfly (Celithemis eponina) spotted near Dogue Creek, Huntley Meadows Park, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. This individual is a female with a mild infestation of black water mites.

29 JUN 2015 | Huntley Meadows Park | Halloween Pennant (female)

Another Halloween Pennant dragonfly, spotted at the same remote location 12 days earlier, has an infestation of red water mites. This individual is an immature male, as indicated by its coloration (similar to a female) and terminal appendages.

A Halloween Pennant dragonfly (Celithemis eponina) spotted near Dogue Creek, Huntley Meadows Park, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. This individual is an immature male with a mild infestation of red water mites.

17 JUN 2015 | Huntley Meadows Park | Halloween Pennant (immature male)

Blue Dasher dragonfly (Pachydiplax longipennis), spotted along the boardwalk in the central wetland area at Huntley Meadows Park, has an infestation of black water mites. This individual is a male, as indicated by its blue coloration and terminal appendages. He is perching in the obelisk position, thought to be a method of thermoregulation.

Copyright © 2015 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.


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