Blue Dasher versus Twelve-spotted Skimmer

The following photo features two dragonflies: a Twelve-spotted Skimmer (Libellula pulchella), shown lower-left; and a Blue Dasher (Pachydiplax longipennis), shown upper-right. Both dragonflies are males. Photo forensics reveals the action sequence: The smaller Blue Dasher, already fully in motion, encroached upon the larger Twelve-spotted Skimmer’s territory and caused the Twelve-spotted Skimmer to take flight in defense of its perch.

[Male Blue Dashers are] fiercely aggressive to other skimmers with blue pruinosity.” Source: Paulson, Dennis (2011-12-19). Dragonflies and Damselflies of the East (Princeton Field Guides) (Kindle Location 10847). Princeton University Press. Kindle Edition.

The Blue Dasher’s abdomen is bowed upward, probably showing aggression toward the other dragonfly.


Tech Tips: The photo was shot using an aperture of f/5.6 and a shutter speed of 1/200 second. Although the shutter speed was too slow to stop the motion of the dragonflies completely, it was perfect for conveying dynamic tension in the scene. BorderFX, a free plug-in for Apple Aperture, was used to add a text watermark to the photo.

Copyright © 2013 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

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