New species of dragonfly spotted at Huntley Meadows Park!

I discovered a new species of dragonfly during a photowalk along the boardwalk in the central wetland area at Huntley Meadows Park on 17 September 2014. I named it “Black Dasher.” (“Slaty Dasher” is under consideration as an alternate common name.)

But seriously, I have never seen a male Blue Dasher dragonfly (Pachydiplax longipennis) colored like this one!

Blue Dasher dragonfly (male, unusual coloration)

From the wear on the wings, he looks quite mature so either the usual pruinosity never developed or it has come off somehow. I’ve seen wear from matings and age but never this much and not so uniform. Very unusual. Source Credit: Ed Lam, author and illustrator of Damselflies of the Northeast.

Blue Dasher dragonfly (male, unusual coloration)

Contrast the coloration of the “Black/Slaty Dasher” (shown above) with another male Blue Dasher (shown below), photographed using the same equipment on the same day at the same place. Notice the abdomen of the following individual is covered by blue pruinescence, typical of adult male Blue Dashers.

Blue Dasher dragonfly (male)

No wonder the first step in “Five steps to the next level of dragonfly spotting” says …

Step 1. Be aware the same species of dragonfly may appear differently depending upon gender, age, and natural variation. Some species display sexual dimorphism; in contrast, both genders look virtually identical for some species. Source Credit: Walter Sanford. Educator, Naturalist, and Photographer.

Copyright © 2014 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

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