Posts Tagged ‘Blue Corporal dragonfly’

Blue Corporal dragonfly (mature male)

July 19, 2019

I like to take some test shots/warm-up shots at the beginning of every photowalk, in order to check exposure, etc. and practice muscle memory. The idea is simple: Prepare to shoot before I see something rare to uncommon, as happened on 21 May 2019.

21 MAY 2019 | PNC. William County, VA | Blue Corporal (mature male)

A Blue Corporal dragonfly (Ladona deplanata) was spotted near a small pond at an undisclosed location in Prince William County, Virginia USA. This individual is a mature male, as indicated by its coloration and terminal appendages.

Copyright © 2019 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

Faked out!

May 13, 2019

A Blue Corporal dragonfly (Ladona deplanata) was perched on a tree alongside Wildlife Loop trail at the North Tract of Patuxent Research Refuge, Anne Arundel County, Maryland USA. This individual is an immature male, as indicated by its lighter coloration and terminal appendages.

My good friend Mike Powell and I were searching for Harlequin Darner (Gomphaeschna furcillata). At first glance, we thought we might have found our first Harlequin; after a closer look, we realized we’d been faked out by a Blue Corporal.

Another Blue Corporal dragonfly was perched on the great red spot of the planet Jupiter. Kidding! Seriously, Blue Corporals typically perch on the ground — this dragonfly was perched on a wooden boardwalk near a small pond.

The last two individuals are mature males, as indicated by their darker coloration and terminal appendages.

Predator-prey relationship?

There is some speculation that Blue Corporal dragonflies might prey upon Harlequin Darners, so Mike and I weren’t happy to see lots of mature Blue Corporals in our target search area. For what it’s worth, we hunted intensively for Harlequin Darner for hours and found only one individual; G. furcillata was described as “relatively abundant” two-to-three weeks earlier at the same location, before Blue Corporal began emerging.

Copyright © 2019 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

More test shots: Ladona deplanata exuvia

January 16, 2019

As promised, this blog post features more test shots of the exuvia from a Blue Corporal dragonfly (Ladona deplanata) larva/nymph collected and reared by Bob Perkins.

All of the images in this photo set (including the dorsal view featured in my last blog post) are underexposed, except for the following photo: this photo looked overexposed on my camera LCD; the rest of the photos looked fine.

In reality, the photos were underexposed because I didn’t compensate for the effect of the extension tubes on exposure — a problem that was probably caused/exacerbated by switching the ISO from my usual setting of “A” (Auto) to 200. This photo turned out to have the best exposure because the flash power was several stops higher than the rest of the photos in the set. Remember the exposure triangle. (See Tech Tips/Related Resources, below.)

Oh, so close to a good shot! The left front leg blocks part of the face-head, and that doesn’t work for me. This specimen is a good candidate for rehydrating the exuvia and reposing its legs.

Related Resource: Test shot: Ladona deplanata exuvia.

Tech Tips

The following equipment was used to shoot the preceding photo: Fujifilm X-T1 digital camera; Fujifilm MCEX-11 and MCEX-16 extension tubes; Fujinon XF80mm macro lensGodox XProF TTL Wireless Flash Trigger for Fujifilm camerasGodox TT685F Thinklite TTL Flash for Fujifilm CamerasGodox TT685C Thinklite TTL Flash for Canon Cameras fitted with a Lastolite Ezybox Speed-Lite 2 flash modifier; and Canon 580EX II Speedlite mounted on a Godox X1R-C TTL Wireless Flash Trigger Receiver for Canon.

Adobe Photoshop CC 2017 was used to spot-heal and sharpen the final output.

Tech Tips/Related Resources

What you should remember, as a rule of thumb, is that by the time you get close to magnifications of 1:1, the effective f-stop of the lens will have changed by about 2 stops. That means you, or your camera, are needing to compensate for this with a higher ISO, or a shutter speed that’s 4-times longer than you’d need without those tubes.

Copyright © 2019 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

Test shot: Ladona deplanata exuvia

January 14, 2019

Bob Perkins collected and reared a Blue Corporal dragonfly (Ladona deplanata) larva/nymph. This is the exuvia from the nymph.

I took a series of test shots with the specimen in four poses: dorsal; dorsal-lateral; face-head; and lateral. The following photo is the dorsal view; other poses will be featured in one-or-more follow-up blog posts.

I was also testing two new pieces of photography gear: a Fujifilm 16mm extension tube; and a Godox X1R-C TTL Wireless Flash Trigger Receiver for Canon external flash units.

For more magnification, I combined my Fujinon XF80mm macro lens with Fujinon MCEX-11 and MCEX-16 extension tubes.

My Canon 580EX II Speedlite features two wireless modes: optical master and optical slave; it does not feature wireless radio master/slave modes. Having said that, if the Canon 580EX II external flash is mounted on a Godox X1R-C, then the Canon flash can be triggered by wireless radio using a Godox XPro-series flash trigger.

For example, I mounted a Godox XProF TTL Wireless Flash Trigger for Fujifilm cameras on my Fujifilm X-T1 digital camera. During limited testing, I discovered both my Canon 580EX- and 580EX II Speedlites fire when mounted on an X1R-C, with the following caveats: the flashes are set for Manual Mode only, at shutter speeds less than or equal to 180s (the sync speed of the XT-1 camera); neither TTL nor HSS works.

Related Resource: More test shots: Ladona deplanata exuvia.

Tech Tips

The following equipment was used to shoot the preceding photo: Fujifilm X-T1 digital camera; Fujifilm MCEX-11 and MCEX-16 extension tubes; Fujinon XF80mm macro lens; Godox XProF TTL Wireless Flash Trigger for Fujifilm cameras; Godox TT685F Thinklite TTL Flash for Fujifilm CamerasGodox TT685C Thinklite TTL Flash for Canon Cameras fitted with a Lastolite Ezybox Speed-Lite 2 flash modifier; and Canon 580EX II Speedlite mounted on a Godox X1R-C TTL Wireless Flash Trigger Receiver for Canon.

Adobe Photoshop CC 2017 was used to spot-heal and sharpen the final output.

Copyright © 2019 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

Survivors

May 25, 2018

The adult flight period for Blue Corporal dragonfly (Ladona deplanata) is from March 09 to July 09, according to records for the Commonwealth of Virginia maintained by Dr. Steve Roble; records for Northern Virginia maintained by Kevin Munroe show the flight period is from the second week in April to the first week in June. In my experience, the third week in May is late for Blue Corporal.

Meadowood Recreation Area

A single Blue Corporal dragonfly was spotted perched on the dock at Hidden Pond, Meadowood Recreation Area (MRA), Fairfax County, Virginia USA. This individual is a mature male, as indicated by his terminal appendages and dark blue pruinescence covering the body.

21 MAY 2018 | MRA | Blue Corporal (mature male)

Contrast the appearance of a mature male Blue Corporal with teneral males of the same species spotted on 26 April 2018 at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge, Prince William County, Virginia USA.

21 MAY 2018 | MRA | Blue Corporal (mature male)

Prince William Forest Park

Two days later, another mature male Blue Corporal was spotted perched on the railing of an observation platform at a small pond located in Prince William Forest Park, Prince William County, Virginia USA.

23 MAY 2018 | MRA | Blue Corporal (mature male)

Editor’s Notes: Dr. Steve Roble is a zoologist at the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage. Kevin Munroe is the former manager of Huntley Meadows Park, Fairfax County, Virginia.

Copyright © 2018 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

Blue Corporal (teneral males)

May 3, 2018

Several teneral male Blue Corporal dragonflies (Ladona deplanata) were spotted near Painted Turtle Pond during a photowalk at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge, Prince William County, Virginia USA.

Teneral/immature/young male Blue Corporals look similar to females of the same species. Terminal appendages can be used to differentiate gender: males have three (3) appendages; females have two (2).

Some of the ground cover is charred from a recent controlled burn at Occoquan Bay NWR.

The common name for Blue Corporal is derived from two cream-colored stripes that appear on the front of the thorax, similar to the two stripes that signify the rank of corporal in the military. As a mature male, those stripes will be partially obscured by dark blue pruinescence.

Related Resource: Blue Corporal (teneral females).

Copyright © 2018 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

Blue Corporal (teneral females)

May 1, 2018

Lots of Blue Corporal dragonflies (Ladona deplanata) were spotted near Painted Turtle Pond at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge, Prince William County, Virginia USA. This is the first time the author has observed Blue Corporal at Painted Turtle Pond.

Both individuals featured in this post are teneral females, as indicated by their tenuous wings and terminal appendages.

Female 1

The first female was spotted perching on vegetation near the shoreline of Painted Turtle Pond. Some of the ground cover is charred from a recent controlled burn at Occoquan Bay NWR.

The common name for Blue Corporal is derived from two cream-colored stripes that appear on the front of the thorax, similar to the two stripes that signify the rank of corporal in the military.

Notice the abdomen of this female seems to be bent slightly to the right (facing forward). This malformation probably occurred during emergence.

Female 2

The last female was spotted perching on the gravel road leading to Painted Turtle Pond. The purple rock located in the upper-right corner of the photo might contain the mineral fluorite.

Like many teneral dragonflies, if not most, this individual was quite skittish. I followed the female to two locations before calling the photowalk a wrap.

Related Resource: Blue Corporal (teneral males).

Copyright © 2018 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

Blue Corporal dragonflies (males)

April 24, 2017

Several Blue Corporal dragonflies (Ladona deplanata) were spotted at Hidden Pond, Meadowood Recreation Area, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. All of the individuals featured in this post are males, as indicated by their coloration and terminal appendages.

Blue Corporals are among the first species of odonates to emerge in the spring, beginning in mid-April. Hidden Pond is one of a few places in Northern Virginia where Blue Corporals are relatively common.

Although Blue Corporals prefer to perch flat on the ground, sometimes they pose for “Odonarty” photos, as shown below.

Copyright © 2017 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

Phenology

May 25, 2016

Phenology (noun) is defined as “the study of cyclic and seasonal natural phenomena, especially in relation to climate and plant and animal life.”

There is an annual cycle of odonate activity that can be subdivided into three broad categories: Early Season (spring); Mid-season (summer); and Late Season (fall).

It appears the time has passed for many of the early season species of dragonflies, such as Blue Corporal (Ladona deplanta). I spotted one Blue Corporal during a photowalk on 14 May 2016 at Hidden Pond, Meadowood Recreation Area; no Blue Corporals were seen during a follow-up visit on 20 May 2016.

A Blue Corporal dragonfly (Ladona deplanata) spotted at Hidden Pond, Meadowood Recreation Area, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. This individual is a female.

This individual is a female, as indicated by her terminal appendages.

A Blue Corporal dragonfly (Ladona deplanata) spotted at Hidden Pond, Meadowood Recreation Area, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. This individual is a female.

I prefer to photograph dragonflies on simple, uncluttered backgrounds such as the piece of heavy lumber shown above. In my opinion, it is easier to see key field markers when the background isn’t a distraction.

A Blue Corporal dragonfly (Ladona deplanata) spotted at Hidden Pond, Meadowood Recreation Area, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. This individual is a female.

In contrast, Michael Powell — a good friend and photowalking buddy — prefers photos of dragonflies in more natural settings. Here’s to you, Mike!

A Blue Corporal dragonfly (Ladona deplanata) spotted at Hidden Pond, Meadowood Recreation Area, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. This individual is a female.

Related Resources:

Copyright © 2016 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

Blue Corporal dragonfly terminal appendages

April 1, 2015

Blue Corporal (Ladona deplanata) is a member of the Skimmer Family of dragonflies that is commonly spotted during the spring months at many water bodies in the mid-Atlantic United States.

Immature males appear similar to immature/mature females of the same species for many types of dragonflies that display sexual dimorphism. This is true for many members of the Skimmer Family of dragonflies, such as Great Blue Skimmer (Libellula vibrans), Slaty Skimmer (Libellula incesta), and the following Blue Corporal dragonflies  spotted at Hidden Pond, Meadowood Recreation Area (MRA).

Immature male and female Blue Corporal dragonflies are nearly identical in appearance except for their terminal appendages — the abdomen of both genders is black and copper in coloration.

Blue Corporal dragonfly (immature male)

01 MAY 2013 | MRA | Blue Corporal (immature male)

Male dragonflies have three terminal appendages, collectively called “claspers,” that are used to grab and hold female dragonflies during mating: an upper pair of cerci (“superior appendages”) and a lower unpaired epiproct (“inferior appendage”).

Female dragonflies have a pair of cerci (superior appendages) that have little or no function.

Blue Corporal dragonfly (female)

01 MAY 2013 | MRA | Blue Corporal (immature female)

As male Blue Corporals mature their coloration turns black and dark blue, although some mature males turn a lighter shade of blue.

Blue Corporal dragonfly (male)

02 MAY 2013 | MRA | Blue Corporal (mature male)

Mature females turn shades of light grayish-tan. Although the terminal appendages aren’t shown clearly in the following annotated photo, the image illustrates the change in coloration that occurs as females mature.

Blue Corporal dragonfly (mature female)

09 MAY 2013 | MRA | Blue Corporal (mature female)

Related Resources: Odonate Terminal Appendages.

Copyright © 2015 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.


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