This is the third installment in a three-part series featuring some of my favorite photos of female dragonflies spotted while photowalking Huntley Meadows Park during Fall 2014.
The following photos show a Blue-faced Meadowhawk dragonfly (Sympetrum ambiguum) spotted on 12 October 2014, perching near the base of the berm that was built as part of the wetland restoration project. This individual is a heteromorph female, as indicated by its coloration and terminal appendages.
Notice the insect (I presume) perching in front of the dragonfly, as shown in the next two photos. A couple of members of the BugGuide Facebook group think this may be a grasshopper nymph, possibly a species of Short-horned Grasshopper (Family Acrididae).
Why didn’t the dragonfly eat the insect?
The Backstory: I wandered along the berm looking for dragonflies until I reached the small observation platform located above the new water control structure that is used to manage water levels in the central wetland. I discovered an unknown plant near the edge of the forest, to the left of the platform. What appear to be beautiful crimson red flowers are in fact the seed pods of Virginia marsh St. Johnswort (Triadenum virginicum). The seed pods remind me of tiny rosebuds. But I digress.
When I returned to berm, fellow odonate enthusiast Lova Brown Freeman pointed out the female Blue-faced Meadowhawk dragonfly shown in the preceding photos. At first, the dragonfly was perching on jute used to protect post-construction ground cover plantings. The coloration of the dragonfly and jute were an almost perfect match, making the dragonfly difficult to see through the viewfinder of my camera. Fortunately for me, the dragonfly moved to a piece of bark, making it easier to find and photograph. Good find, and thanks for sharing, Lova!
Lova is a talented craftsperson who specializes in crocheting. Many of Lova’s craft items are nature-themed. Visit Lova’s Crafty Caboodle for more information.
Editor’s Note: Credit Dr. Edward Eder and Mr. Alonso Abugattas for independently identifying the unknown plant, shown above.
On re-examining the photo I noticed that the “flowers” were not flowers at all but rather seed pods. Saint Johnswort has red seed pods that look a lot like this picture. Source Credit: Personal communication, Dr. Edward Eder.
Cool, is that Marsh St. Johnswort, Triadenum virginicum (sometimes called Hypericum virginicum)? What a great find! I don’t think that’s supposed to be found around here, not in Fairfax or Arlington anyway. That might be a new county record if the park decides to get a voucher and report it to the state. Source Credit: Alonso Abugattas Jr., Capital Naturalist Facebook group.
Copyright © 2014 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.