Archive for July, 2016

Slender Spreadwing damselflies (mating pair)

July 30, 2016

The Backstory: A cohort of emergent/teneral Slender Spreadwing damselflies (Lestes rectangularis) was discovered during late-May and early-June 2016 at a vernal pool located in Huntley Meadows Park (HMP). I have seen/photographed many female Slender Spreadwings in the past, but only one male. For the next few weeks, I focused upon finding and photographing mostly males from the cohort.

Mating Pair

A mating pair of Slender Spreadwing damselflies was spotted in a meadow located near a vernal pool from which the pair probably emerged. This pair is “in heart.”

A mating pair of Slender Spreadwing damselflies (Lestes rectangularis) spotted at Huntley Meadows Park, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. This pair is "in heart."

24 JUN 2016 | HMP | Slender Spreadwing (mating pair, “in heart“)

All dragonflies and damselflies have a 10-segmented abdomen, numbered from front to back: male damselfly secondary genitalia, called hamules, are located in segments two and three (S2 and S3); female genitalia in segment eight (S8). Damselflies form the mating wheel (also known as the mating heart) in order for their genitalia to connect during copulation.

A mating pair of Slender Spreadwing damselflies (Lestes rectangularis) spotted at Huntley Meadows Park, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. This pair is "in heart."

24 JUN 2016 | HMP | Slender Spreadwing (mating pair, “in heart“)

Therefore, the male is on upper-left; the female is on the lower-right.

A mating pair of Slender Spreadwing damselflies (Lestes rectangularis) spotted at Huntley Meadows Park, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. This pair is "in heart."

24 JUN 2016 | HMP | Slender Spreadwing (mating pair, “in heart“)

The next photo shows the mating pair “in tandem,” immediately after copulation. Editor’s Note: Male (soft focus); female (sharp focus).

A mating pair of Slender Spreadwing damselflies (Lestes rectangularis) spotted at Huntley Meadows Park, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. This pair is "in tandem," after copulation. Note: male (soft focus); female (sharp focus).

24 JUN 2016 | HMP | Slender Spreadwing (mating pair, “in tandem“)

The last photo shows the mating pair, separated after being “in tandem.” The pair decoupled soon after the heart was broken. Editor’s Note: Male (sharp focus); female (soft focus).

A mating pair of Slender Spreadwing damselflies (Lestes rectangularis) spotted at Huntley Meadows Park, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. This pair just separated after being "in tandem."

24 JUN 2016 | HMP | Slender Spreadwing (mating pair, after separation)

Editor’s Note: This is Part 1 in a five-part series of blog posts documenting a cohort of Slender Spreadwing damselflies that emerged from a single vernal pool at Huntley Meadows Park, presented in reverse-chronological order from mature, reproducing adults to emergent tenerals.

Copyright © 2016 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

Spot-winged Glider dragonfly (female)

July 28, 2016

Spot-winged Glider dragonfly (Pantala hymenaea) was captured in Fairfax County, Virginia USA. This individual is a female.

A Spot-winged Glider dragonfly (Pantala hymenaea) netted at Saint Louis Catholic School, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. This individual is a female.

20 JUL 2016 | Fairfax County, VA USA | Spot-winged Glider (female)

An 18″ diameter insect net was used to capture the dragonfly; a small plastic clothespin was used to hold its wings while I shot several photographs of the specimen. The dragonfly was released after a few minutes, unharmed.

A Spot-winged Glider dragonfly (Pantala hymenaea) netted at Saint Louis Catholic School, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. This individual is a female.

20 JUL 2016 | Fairfax County, VA USA | Spot-winged Glider (female)

I prefer the photos of the specimen posed against a clean background such as the blue sky overhead. Compare/contrast the photos featuring a simple- versus more cluttered background. Which do you prefer?

A Spot-winged Glider dragonfly (Pantala hymenaea) netted at Saint Louis Catholic School, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. This individual is a female.

20 JUL 2016 | Fairfax County, VA USA | Spot-winged Glider (female)

A Spot-winged Glider dragonfly (Pantala hymenaea) netted at Saint Louis Catholic School, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. This individual is a female.

20 JUL 2016 | Fairfax County, VA USA | Spot-winged Glider (female)

The last photo is a ventral view that clearly shows this individual is a female.

A Spot-winged Glider dragonfly (Pantala hymenaea) netted at Saint Louis Catholic School, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. This individual is a female.

20 JUL 2016 | Fairfax County, VA USA | Spot-winged Glider (female)

Copyright © 2016 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

Halloween Pennant dragonfly (mature male)

July 26, 2016

Halloween Pennant dragonfly (Celithemis eponina) was spotted during a photowalk at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge, Prince William County, Virginia USA. This individual is a mature male, as indicated by his orangish-red coloration, hamules, and terminal appendages.

A Halloween Pennant dragonfly (Celithemis eponina) spotted at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge, Prince William County, Virginia USA. This individual is a mature male.

11 JUL 2016 | OBNWR | Halloween Pennant (mature male)

The dragonfly is shown perching at the top of Eastern gamagrass (Tripsacum dactyloides) in all of the photos in this gallery.

The next photo is my favorite in this set.

A Halloween Pennant dragonfly (Celithemis eponina) spotted at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge, Prince William County, Virginia USA. This individual is a mature male.

11 JUL 2016 | OBNWR | Halloween Pennant (mature male)

A Halloween Pennant dragonfly (Celithemis eponina) spotted at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge, Prince William County, Virginia USA. This individual is a mature male.

11 JUL 2016 | OBNWR | Halloween Pennant (mature male)

A Halloween Pennant dragonfly (Celithemis eponina) spotted at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge, Prince William County, Virginia USA. This individual is a mature male.

11 JUL 2016 | OBNWR | Halloween Pennant (mature male)

I love a good head-tilt!

A Halloween Pennant dragonfly (Celithemis eponina) spotted at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge, Prince William County, Virginia USA. This individual is a mature male.

11 JUL 2016 | OBNWR | Halloween Pennant (mature male)

A Halloween Pennant dragonfly (Celithemis eponina) spotted at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge, Prince William County, Virginia USA. This individual is a mature male.

11 JUL 2016 | OBNWR | Halloween Pennant (mature male)

Copyright © 2016 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

More young male Halloween Pennants

July 24, 2016

More young male Halloween Pennant dragonflies (Celithemis eponina) were spotted on 06 July 2016 during a follow-up photowalk at Meadowood Recreation Area (MRA).

A Halloween Pennant dragonfly (Celithemis eponina) spotted at Meadowood Recreation Area, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. This individual is a young male.

06 JUL 2016 | MRA | Halloween Pennant (young male)

A Halloween Pennant dragonfly (Celithemis eponina) spotted at Meadowood Recreation Area, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. This individual is a young male.

06 JUL 2016 | MRA | Halloween Pennant (young male)

A Halloween Pennant dragonfly (Celithemis eponina) spotted at Meadowood Recreation Area, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. This individual is a young male.

06 JUL 2016 | MRA | Halloween Pennant (young male)

A Halloween Pennant dragonfly (Celithemis eponina) spotted at Meadowood Recreation Area, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. This individual is a young male.

06 JUL 2016 | MRA | Halloween Pennant (young male)

A Halloween Pennant dragonfly (Celithemis eponina) spotted at Meadowood Recreation Area, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. This individual is a young male.

06 JUL 2016 | MRA | Halloween Pennant (young male)

The last photo is my favorite in this set. Which photo is your favorite?

A Halloween Pennant dragonfly (Celithemis eponina) spotted at Meadowood Recreation Area, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. This individual is a young male.

06 JUL 2016 | MRA | Halloween Pennant (young male)

Copyright © 2016 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

More Odonart

July 22, 2016

Halloween Pennant dragonflies (Celithemis eponina) — like this female spotted at Huntley Meadows Park — are very photogenic!

A Halloween Pennant dragonfly (Celithemis eponina) spotted at Huntley Meadows Park, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. This individual is a female.

15 JUL 2016 | Huntley Meadows Park | Halloween Pennant (female)

A Halloween Pennant dragonfly (Celithemis eponina) spotted at Huntley Meadows Park, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. This individual is a female.

15 JUL 2016 | Huntley Meadows Park | Halloween Pennant (female)

The next two photos are among my favorites in this set.

A Halloween Pennant dragonfly (Celithemis eponina) spotted at Huntley Meadows Park, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. This individual is a female.

15 JUL 2016 | Huntley Meadows Park | Halloween Pennant (female)

A Halloween Pennant dragonfly (Celithemis eponina) spotted at Huntley Meadows Park, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. This individual is a female.

15 JUL 2016 | Huntley Meadows Park | Halloween Pennant (female)

The following photo is my most favorite. Please look at the full-size version of this photo — the breathtakingly beautiful dragonfly seems to be luminous!

A Halloween Pennant dragonfly (Celithemis eponina) spotted at Huntley Meadows Park, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. This individual is a female.

15 JUL 2016 | Huntley Meadows Park | Halloween Pennant (female)

A Halloween Pennant dragonfly (Celithemis eponina) spotted at Huntley Meadows Park, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. This individual is a female.

15 JUL 2016 | Huntley Meadows Park | Halloween Pennant (female)

A Halloween Pennant dragonfly (Celithemis eponina) spotted at Huntley Meadows Park, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. This individual is a female.

15 JUL 2016 | Huntley Meadows Park | Halloween Pennant (female)

Copyright © 2016 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

Odonart

July 20, 2016

Last year I coined the term “Odonart” and created an “Odonart Portfolio.” Odonart is a concatenation of two words: odonate (dragonflies and damselflies); and art.

During a recent photowalk at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge (OBNWR), I shot several photos of two female Halloween Pennant dragonflies (Celithemis eponina) that I think are worthy of my portfolio.

The first photo is one of my favorites in this set.

A Halloween Pennant dragonfly (Celithemis eponina) spotted at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge, Prince William County, Virginia USA. This individual is a female.

11 JUL 2016 | OBNWR | Halloween Pennant (female)

Halloween Pennants prefer to perch at the top of tall vegetation such as the Eastern gamagrass (Tripsacum dactyloides) shown in all of the photos. Eastern gamagrass is a grass that grows five- to six feet in height — a perfect perch for isolating the pennants against a deep blue sky!

A Halloween Pennant dragonfly (Celithemis eponina) spotted at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge, Prince William County, Virginia USA. This individual is a female.

11 JUL 2016 | OBNWR | Halloween Pennant (female)

A Halloween Pennant dragonfly (Celithemis eponina) spotted at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge, Prince William County, Virginia USA. This individual is a female.

11 JUL 2016 | OBNWR | Halloween Pennant (female)

The last two photos are among my favorites in this gallery.

A Halloween Pennant dragonfly (Celithemis eponina) spotted at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge, Prince William County, Virginia USA. This individual is a female.

11 JUL 2016 | OBNWR | Halloween Pennant (female)

A Halloween Pennant dragonfly (Celithemis eponina) spotted at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge, Prince William County, Virginia USA. This individual is a female.

11 JUL 2016 | OBNWR | Halloween Pennant (female)

Editor’s Note: Sincere thanks to Daffny Pitchford, Refuge Manager, Potomac River NWRC, for identifying the Eastern gamagrass shown in all of the photos in this gallery.

Copyright © 2016 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

Spot-winged Glider dragonfly (female)

July 18, 2016

Spot-winged Glider is one of at least five major species of dragonflies known to be migratory in North America. One field marker most migratory dragonflies have in common: broad hindwings.

The very broad hindwings represent an important adaptation for gliding, … Source Credit: Paulson, Dennis (2011-12-19). Dragonflies and Damselflies of the East (Princeton Field Guides) (Kindle Locations 11276-11277). Princeton University Press. Kindle Edition.

The following gallery of photographs shows a Spot-winged Glider dragonfly (Pantala hymenaea) spotted along the Hike-Bike Trail at Huntley Meadows Park. This individual is a female.

A Spot-winged Glider dragonfly (Pantala hymenaea) spotted along the Hike-Bike Trail at Huntley Meadows Park, Fairfax County, Virginia USA.

15 JUL 2016 | Huntley Meadows Park | Spot-winged Glider (female)

A Spot-winged Glider dragonfly (Pantala hymenaea) spotted along the Hike-Bike Trail at Huntley Meadows Park, Fairfax County, Virginia USA.

15 JUL 2016 | Huntley Meadows Park | Spot-winged Glider (female)

A Spot-winged Glider dragonfly (Pantala hymenaea) spotted along the Hike-Bike Trail at Huntley Meadows Park, Fairfax County, Virginia USA.

15 JUL 2016 | Huntley Meadows Park | Spot-winged Glider (female)

Related Resources: Digital Dragonflies, presenting high-resolution digital scans of living dragonflies.

  • Genus Pantala | Pantala hymenaea | Spot-winged Glider | male | top view
  • Genus Pantala | Pantala hymenaea | Spot-winged Glider | male | side view
  • Genus Pantala | Pantala hymenaea | Spot-winged Glider | female | top view
  • Genus Pantala | Pantala hymenaea | Spot-winged Glider | female | side view

See interactive three-dimensional (3-D) virtual imagery of the five migratory dragonflies, including Spot-winged Glider, provided by the Migratory Dragonfly Partnership.

Copyright © 2016 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

Halloween Pennant dragonfly (young male)

July 16, 2016

Halloween Pennant dragonfly (Celithemis eponina) was spotted at Meadowood Recreation Area (MRA). This individual is a young male, as indicated by its coloration, hamules, and terminal appendages.

The coloration of immature male Halloween Pennants is similar to females of the same species: as males mature, their coloration (including the pterostigmata) darkens slowly to orange-red; this “young male” is at a stage between female- and male coloration.

A Halloween Pennant dragonfly (Celithemis eponina) spotted at Meadowood Recreation Area, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. This individual is a young male.

02 JUL 2016 | MRA | Halloween Pennant (young male)

A Halloween Pennant dragonfly (Celithemis eponina) spotted at Meadowood Recreation Area, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. This individual is a young male.

02 JUL 2016 | MRA | Halloween Pennant (young male)

A Halloween Pennant dragonfly (Celithemis eponina) spotted at Meadowood Recreation Area, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. This individual is a young male.

02 JUL 2016 | MRA | Halloween Pennant (young male)

A Halloween Pennant dragonfly (Celithemis eponina) spotted at Meadowood Recreation Area, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. This individual is a young male.

02 JUL 2016 | MRA | Halloween Pennant (young male)

Copyright © 2016 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

Banded Pennant dragonflies (mating pair)

July 14, 2016

A mating pair of Banded Pennant dragonflies (Celithemis fasciata) was spotted at Hidden Pond, Meadowood Recreation Area (MRA). This pair is “in wheel.”

A mating pair of Banded Pennant dragonflies (Celithemis fasciata) spotted at Hidden Pond, Meadowood Recreation Area, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. This pair is "in wheel."

02 JUL 2016 | MRA | Banded Pennant (mating pair, in wheel)

All dragonflies and damselflies have a 10-segmented abdomen, numbered from front to back: male dragonfly secondary genitalia, called hamules, are located in segments two and three (S2 and S3); female genitalia in segment eight (S8). Dragonflies form the mating wheel in order for their genitalia to connect during copulation.

A mating pair of Banded Pennant dragonflies (Celithemis fasciata) spotted at Hidden Pond, Meadowood Recreation Area, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. This pair is "in wheel."

02 JUL 2016 | MRA | Banded Pennant (mating pair, in wheel)

Therefore, the male is on top; the female is on the bottom.

A mating pair of Banded Pennant dragonflies (Celithemis fasciata) spotted at Hidden Pond, Meadowood Recreation Area, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. This pair is "in wheel."

02 JUL 2016 | MRA | Banded Pennant (mating pair, in wheel)

A mating pair of Banded Pennant dragonflies (Celithemis fasciata) spotted at Hidden Pond, Meadowood Recreation Area, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. This pair is "in wheel."

02 JUL 2016 | MRA | Banded Pennant (mating pair, in wheel)

A mating pair of Banded Pennant dragonflies (Celithemis fasciata) spotted at Hidden Pond, Meadowood Recreation Area, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. This pair is "in wheel."

02 JUL 2016 | MRA | Banded Pennant (mating pair, in wheel)

Copyright © 2016 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

Common Baskettail dragonfly (female)

July 12, 2016

A Common Baskettail dragonfly (Epitheca cynosura) was spotted at Mulligan Pond, Jackson Miles Abbott Wetland Refuge. This individual is a female, as indicated by her rounded hind wings and simple, straight terminal appendages.

A Common Baskettail dragonfly (Epitheca cynosura) spotted at Mulligan Pond, Jackson Miles Abbott Wetland Refuge, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. This individual is a female.

26 JUN 2016 | JMAWR | Common Baskettail (female)

The shoreline of Mulligan Pond was patrolled actively by male Common Baskettail dragonflies during late-May 2016. It’s worth noting that no male Common Baskettails were spotted during my photowalk around the pond approximately one month later.

Copyright © 2016 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.


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