Beauty and the Beast

Beauty. Beautiful dragonflies. Make more, please!

The following photos show a mating pair of Blue-faced Meadowhawk dragonflies (Sympetrum ambiguum) spotted during a photowalk through Huntley Meadows Park. The male is on top; the female on the bottom. The female is a heteromorph.

19 September 2013. Close.

19 September 2013. Close.

Blue-faced Meadowhawk dragonflies (mating pair)

19 September 2013. Closer.

19 September 2013. Closest.

19 September 2013. Closest.

The Beast. Blood-sucking pests. Go away and leave me alone!

Horse flies, possibly Tabanus calens, tormented me at times when I was hunting Blue-faced Meadowhawk dragonflies at Huntley Meadows Park. Male horse flies don’t bite; females bite, painfully!

18 September 2013. Male horse fly (Tabanus calens).

18 September 2013. Horse fly (male).

Males have eyes that meet along a seam down the middle of the head (holoptic eyes); females have eyes that are well-separated. Source Credit: Benjamin A. Coulter, member of the BugGuide group on Facebook.

20 September 2013. Female horse fly (Tabanus calens).

20 September 2013. Photo 1. Horse fly (female).

20 September 2013. Photo 2. Horse fly (female).

20 September 2013. Photo 2. Horse fly (female).

The back-story: On 19 September 2013, I was hunting Blue-faced Meadowhawk dragonflies at a place along the boardwalk that had been a lucky spot for a few days. An especially aggressive horse fly forced me to flee to a new location on the boardwalk. Seconds later, I spotted the first mating pair of Blue-faced Meadowhawks I had ever seen! So as it turns out I’m indebted to horse flies, in a weird twist of fate.

Thanks to Ben Coulter for identifying my tormenters and for explaining how to recognize male- and female horse flies — now I know which ones to beware of!

Copyright © 2014 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

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