Ashy Clubtail dragonfly (female)

An Ashy Clubtail dragonfly (Phanogomphus lividus) was spotted during a photowalk with Michael Powell at an undisclosed location in Fairfax County, Virginia USA.

02 MAY 2020 | Fairfax County, VA | Ashy Clubtail (female)

This individual is a female, as indicated by her terminal appendages and rounded hind wings.

02 MAY 2020 | Fairfax County, VA | Ashy Clubtail (female)

Look closely at the full-size version of all of the photos and you will notice body parts from a crane fly that the dragonfly was eating during this brief time-series of photos. Also notice the spider that photo-bombed the following image (shown to the far left).

02 MAY 2020 | Fairfax County, VA | Ashy Clubtail (female)

Related Resource

Ashy Clubtail Close-ups” features photos of the same subject shot by Michael Powell: Mike used a DSLR camera, macro lens, and no flash to take his photos; I used a mirrorless superzoom “bridge” camera and an external flash unit to take mine.

Editorial Commentary

The Dragonfly Society of the Americas (DSA) released a new version of their “Odonata Central” Web site recently. The primary goal was to upgrade the process for searching and submitting official records for odonates.

Good intentions notwithstanding, one BIG CASUALTY of the update is the identification guides for almost every species of odonate in North America are no longer online. Site visitors looking for those resources are redirected to use “Dragonfly ID,” a third-party app for iOS and Android mobile devices.

In my strong opinion, an app is NEVER an adequate substitute for a Web-based reference library. For example, how can I point readers of my blog to specific resources in the “Dragonfly ID” app? I can’t, and as a result, many opportunities for informal science education are missed.

As a case in point, “All About Birds — Your Online Guide to Birds and Bird Watching” predates the release of the “Merlin Bird ID” app by many years. I’m fairly certain the Cornell Lab of Ornithology NEVER considered pulling the plug on “All About Birds” when they were developing their excellent app for bird identification. The two resources are complementary, not exclusive.

What’s done is done. As a consequence of the update, my photoblog is littered with broken links to what was once the authoritative online reference for North American odonates.

Currently there is no perfect substitute for the old DSA Odonata Central identification guides. Beginning with this post I will provide pointers to The Dragonflies and Damselflies of North Carolina Web site. For example, the photo captions in this blog post include links to the page for Ashy Clubtail (Phanogomphus lividus), featuring an interactive, annotated photo that provides tips for identification of this species. Well done, North Carolina!

And while I’m talking about North Carolina’s excellent ode-related Web site let me ask the obvious question: Hey Virginia, where’s ours?

Copyright © 2020 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

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2 Responses to “Ashy Clubtail dragonfly (female)”

  1. Stine Writing Says:

    Great photos. Very different from your friend…

  2. Ashy Clubtail Close-ups | Mike Powell Says:

    […] Here, as promised, is a link to Walter’s posting about our encounter with this female Ashy Clubtail […]

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