Miraculous metamorphosis

It’s hard to believe an odonate larva that looked like this…

…transformed into the adult dragonfly shown below.

Image used with permission from Bob Perkins.

The Backstory

Bob Perkins, a good friend and fellow Virginian, has been collecting and rearing odonate larvae since 01 January 2017. Bob’s success rate is extraordinarily high, meaning most of the larvae he collects live to emerge as adults.

Bob collected an unknown species of clubtail larva in February 2017 from a stream located in either Carroll- or Grayson County, Virginia USA. The larva emerged from one of Bob’s holding tanks on 13 March 2017 and metamorphosed into an adult female Sable Clubtail dragonfly (Stenogomphurus rogersi).

Amateur- and professional scientists collect and rear odonate larvae in order to observe the adult species that emerge. Then it is possible to reverse-engineer the morphological characters that enable identification of specific species of larvae. An upcoming blog post will feature information about how to identify Sable Clubtail larvae/exuviae.

Tech Tips

The first image is a composite of nine (9) photos taken using the following equipment: Canon EOS 5D Mark II digital camera, in manual mode; Canon MP-E 65mm Macro lens (manual focus only, set for 3x magnification); and Canon MT-26EX-RT Macro Twin Lite.

Adobe Photoshop CC 2017 was used to focus stack the photos and post-process the final output.

The second image was taken by Bob Perkins, soon after emergence, using a Canon EOS Rebel T3i camera body and Canon EF-S 60mm macro lens.

Related Resource: Stenogomphurus rogersi exuvia, a blog post that describes how to identify Sable Clubtail dragonfly larvae/exuviae.

Copyright © 2018 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

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3 Responses to “Miraculous metamorphosis”

  1. Mike Powell Says:

    Wow. It is mind-blowing to think about the metamorphosis of a dragonfly and amazing to actually see the before and after shots of a single individual.

  2. Stenogomphurus rogersi exuvia | walter sanford's photoblog Says:

    […] Showcasing some of my digital photography and videography. « Miraculous metamorphosis […]

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