Archive for June, 2013

Fragile Forktail damselfy (male)

June 29, 2013

The Fragile Forktail damselfly (Ischnura posita) is black and light green. The top of its thorax is black with two distinctive light green exclamation points.

Fragile Forktail damselfly (male)

This individual was spotted at the terminus of “Great Blue Heron Trail,” Accotink Bay Wildlife Refuge, a 1,200 acre preserve located at Army Garrison Fort Belvoir, Fairfax County, Virginia USA.

Copyright © 2013 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

Advertisements

Fragile Forktail damselfy (immature form)

June 27, 2013

The Fragile Forktail damselfly (Ischnura posita) is black and light green. The top of its thorax is black with two distinctive light green exclamation points. The immature form, shown below, has markings identical to the adult form, but it is colored black and blue.

Fragile Forktail damselfly (immature)

This individual was spotted at the terminus of “Great Blue Heron Trail,” Accotink Bay Wildlife Refuge, a 1,200 acre preserve located at Army Garrison Fort Belvoir, Fairfax County, Virginia USA.

Copyright © 2013 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

Eastern Pondhawk dragonfly (immature male, redux)

June 25, 2013

The following photographs show an Eastern Pondhawk dragonfly (Erythemis simplicicollis) spotted on the earthen dam at Hidden Pond, Meadowood Recreation Area, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. This individual is an immature male, as indicated by its green coloration and terminal appendages.

Eastern Pondhawk dragonfly (immature male) Eastern Pondhawk dragonfly (immature male)

Copyright © 2013 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

Common Whitetail dragonflies (young males, mature males)

June 23, 2013

The following galleries show several Common Whitetail dragonflies (Plathemis lydia) spotted at Accotink Bay Wildlife Refuge and Huntley Meadows Park. Notice the subtle difference in coloration that may be used to identify young- and old male Common Whitetails.

The individuals shown in the preceding gallery are young males, as indicated by the white pruinescence partially covering their abdomen.

The individuals shown in the following gallery are mature males, as indicated by the white pruinescence covering their abdomen completely.

Contrast the appearance of young- and mature male Common Whitetail dragonflies versus an immature male of the same species.

Copyright © 2013 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

Common Whitetail dragonflies

June 21, 2013

The following gallery features a couple of similar-looking dragonflies: they are the same species; different gender. Both specimens are Common Whitetail dragonflies (Plathemis lydia): Photo 1 shows an immature male; Photos 2-3 show a female. Notice the obvious difference in the pattern of their wing spots. More careful observation reveals the difference in their terminal appendages.

Young males begin to develop pruinescence that changes the color of their abdomen from brown to white.

Both individuals were spotted at Meadowood Recreation Area.

Copyright © 2013 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

Eastern Snapping Turtle (blowing bubbles)

June 19, 2013

A belated happy “World Turtle Day!” I spotted the following Eastern Snapping Turtle (Chelydra serpentina serpentina) at Huntley Meadows Park, a 1,425 acre wetland area in Fairfax County, Virginia USA.

Eastern Snapping Turtle (Chelydra serpentina serpentina)

The following slideshow features a time-series of six photos showing the snapping turtle blowing bubbles in the water. Do turtles play? (I liked to use a drinking straw to blow bubbles in a glass of milk when I was a child.)

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Copyright © 2013 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

Blue Corporal dragonflies (males, perching on me)

June 17, 2013

The following gallery shows a few male Blue Corporal dragonflies (Ladona deplanata) perching on me as I was standing on the earthen dam at Hidden Pond, Meadowood Recreation Area, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. The natives are very friendly!

Tech Tip: Either mouse-over or tap photos to see captions.

Copyright © 2013 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

Spangled Skimmer dragonfly (immature male)

June 15, 2013

The following photos show a Spangled Skimmer dragonfly (Libellula cyanea) spotted in an open field along the trail to Hidden Pond, a small lake located at Meadowood Recreation Area in Fairfax County, Virginia USA. This individual is an immature male, as indicated by its coloration and the terminal appendages at the end of its abdomen.

Spangled Skimmer dragonfly (immature male) Spangled Skimmer dragonfly (immature male)

Copyright © 2013 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

Stream Cruiser dragonfly (male), redux

June 13, 2013

The following photographs show a Stream Cruiser dragonfly (Didymops transversa) spotted along “Beaver Pond Loop Trail” at Accotink Bay Wildlife Refuge, a 1,200 acre preserve located at Army Garrison Fort Belvoir, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. This individual is a male as indicated by the white terminal appendages at the end of its abdomen. The abdomen of male Stream Cruisers is enlarged near the tip, similar to the Clubtail family of dragonflies.

Stream Cruiser dragonfly (male) Stream Cruiser dragonfly (male)

Copyright © 2013 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

Common Whitetail dragonfly (male, breathing)

June 11, 2013

The following video features a Common Whitetail dragonfly (Plathemis lydia) spotted on 31 May 2013 during a photowalk along the boardwalk in the hemi-marsh at Huntley Meadows Park. This individual is a male, as indicated by its coloration and terminal appendages.

Dragonflies breathe through small holes in the underside of their thorax and abdomen called “spiracles.” Notice the dragonfly’s thorax and abdomen expanding and contracting as he inhales and exhales.

Related Resource: Autumn Meadowhawk dragonfly (female, breathing and grooming), featuring an embedded YouTube video (0:30).

Copyright © 2013 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.


%d bloggers like this: