Archive for December, 2013

Differential grasshopper

December 10, 2013

Another Differential grasshopper (Melanoplus differentialis) spotted along the boardwalk at Huntley Meadows Park.

Differential grasshopper (Melanoplus differentialis)

Copyright © 2013 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

Post update: The End

December 8, 2013

I spotted another dragonfly carcass during a photowalk through Huntley Meadows Park on 05 December 2013.

This individual is, or was, an Autumn Meadowhawk dragonfly (Sympetrum vicinum), as indicated by its lightly-tinted wings and distinctive red pterostigmata (stigma).

I was happy to see a few male Autumn Meadowhawks, shown below, that were still alive — during early winter, only the strong survive!

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

Copyright © 2013 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

Post update: Malformed odonates

December 6, 2013

I discovered another malformed odonate as I was working my way through a backlog of hundreds of photos that need to be rated and post-processed. This individual is a female Blue-faced Meadowhawk dragonfly (Sympetrum ambiguum) spotted at Huntley Meadows Park on 17 September 2013. She is an andromorph that has a slightly malformed abdomen.

Photo 1 shows the dragonfly perching near unripened Swamp Rose (Rosa palustris) hips. A small crimp in S5 of the abdomen is easier to see in Photo 2 than the other images. Remember that “S5″ refers to abdominal Segment 5 (of 10), numbered from front to back. Look closely at Photo 3: I think the image looks more like an artist’s animation than a photograph!

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

Copyright © 2013 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

A pair of pests

December 4, 2013

Differential grasshopper and Brown marmorated stink bug

The preceding photo shows a pair of pests spotted along the boardwalk at Huntley Meadows Park: a Differential grasshopper (Melanoplus differentialis); and a Brown marmorated stink bug (Halyomorpha halys).

The End

December 2, 2013

Sadly …

This is the end
Beautiful friend
This is the end
My only friend, the end.
The End, by The Doors

Late-fall/early winter is the end of dragonfly season in the mid-Atlantic region and literally the end for a couple of dead Autumn Meadowhawk dragonflies (Sympetrum vicinum) spotted at Huntley Meadows Park on 15 November 2013. Both carcasses were located along the boardwalk, under a canopy of trees near the observation tower.

The author is unable to identify either the gender or the cause of death for the first individual, lying ventral side up (shown below). At least two scenarios are possible. 1) The dragonfly died of natural cause(s) and was partially eaten afterward. 2) The dragonfly was killed by a predator, most likely a bird, since no other adult dragonfly species are on the wing in mid-November.

Autumn Meadowhawk dragonfly (carcass)

Photo 1. Autumn Meadowhawk dragonfly (carcass, gender unknown).

The second individual (shown below) is a male, as indicated by its coloration and terminal appendages. The carcass looks desiccated, like the dragonfly was freeze-dried. Mike Powell, a fellow wildlife photographer and blogger, observed frost on the boardwalk during the early morning on the 15th.

Autumn Meadowhawk dragonfly (male, carcass)

Photo 2. Autumn Meadowhawk dragonfly (carcass, male).

Copyright © 2013 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

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