Posts Tagged ‘Dogue Creek’

A day at the beach

June 14, 2016

Two captions came to mind when I looked at the following photo.

  1. Hey Bob, let’s move to the beach. We won’t have to eat each other because of the free sand which is there. (There’s a joke in there somewhere!)
  2. If I don’t move, then maybe it won’t notice me/eat me.

Question is, which animal was in greater danger during this close encounter — the dragonfly or the spider? As I understand dragonfly feeding behavior, they catch prey by flying rather than crawling. So I’d say the dragonfly was in greater danger of being eaten by the spider than vice versa.

For those of you keeping score at home, neither the dragonfly nor the spider was harmed in the making of this photo. I don’t remember what caused the dragonfly to fly away, but it did so soon after this photo was taken.

Common Sanddragon dragonfly (Progomphus obscurus) was spotted during a photowalk along Dogue Creek at Wickford Park, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. This individual is a male, as indicated by his terminal appendages. The spider appears to be some sort of fishing spider, but that’s an educated guess.

Copyright © 2016 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

Common Sanddragon dragonfly (emergent male)

June 8, 2016

I was in the right place at the right time as I was photowalking Dogue Creek at Wickford Park on 01 June 2016: I noticed a dragonfly nymph as it crawled out of the water; the nymph stopped a few inches from the waterline and began to emerge right away. I photographed the entire process from beginning to end: I shot 77 photos in approximately 45 minutes; time is compressed by showcasing 14 select photos taken at major milestones during the event.

The following photo is the first image from a time-series documenting the miraculous metamorphosis of an emergent male Common Sanddragon dragonfly (Progomphis obscuris). Elapsed time is expressed in hh:mm:ss format, e.g., 00:44:21 (the total elapsed time).

A Common Sanddragon nymph/dragonfly (Progomphus obscurus) spotted along Dogue Creek at Wickford Park, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. This individual is an emergent male.

01 JUN 2016 | 10:07:51 am EDT | Elapsed time: 00:00:00

The pre-emergent dragonfly nymph appears in the lower-left corner of the preceding photo; the cast skin from another dragonfly appears in the upper-right corner. Truth be told, I was so focused on observing the dragonfly nymph that I never noticed the cast skin until after I finished the photoshoot!

A Common Sanddragon nymph/dragonfly (Progomphus obscurus) spotted along Dogue Creek at Wickford Park, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. This individual is an emergent male.

01 JUN 2016 | 10:09:33 am EDT | Elapsed time: 00:01:42

The dragonfly began to emerge through a split in the thorax, as shown in the next three photos.

A Common Sanddragon nymph/dragonfly (Progomphus obscurus) spotted along Dogue Creek at Wickford Park, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. This individual is an emergent male.

01 JUN 2016 | 10:15:07 am EDT | Elapsed time: 00:07:16

A Common Sanddragon nymph/dragonfly (Progomphus obscurus) spotted along Dogue Creek at Wickford Park, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. This individual is an emergent male.

01 JUN 2016 | 10:15:36 am EDT | Elapsed time: 00:07:45

A Common Sanddragon nymph/dragonfly (Progomphus obscurus) spotted along Dogue Creek at Wickford Park, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. This individual is an emergent male.

01 JUN 2016 | 10:16:16 am EDT | Elapsed time: 00:08:25

Within minutes, the emergent dragonfly was entirely free from its exoskeleton. This individual is a male, as indicated by his terminal appendages.

A Common Sanddragon nymph/dragonfly (Progomphus obscurus) spotted along Dogue Creek at Wickford Park, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. This individual is an emergent male.

01 JUN 2016 | 10:21:01 am EDT | Elapsed time: 00:13:10

The wings, folded like accordions, then begin to fill from the base with fluid transferred from the body and fairly soon reach full length. Source Credit: Paulson, Dennis (2011-12-19). Dragonflies and Damselflies of the East (Princeton Field Guides) (Kindle Locations 466-467). Princeton University Press. Kindle Edition.

A Common Sanddragon nymph/dragonfly (Progomphus obscurus) spotted along Dogue Creek at Wickford Park, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. This individual is an emergent male.

01 JUN 2016 | 10:22:03 am EDT | Elapsed time: 00:14:12

A Common Sanddragon nymph/dragonfly (Progomphus obscurus) spotted along Dogue Creek at Wickford Park, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. This individual is an emergent male.

01 JUN 2016 | 10:23:06 am EDT | Elapsed time: 00:15:15

A Common Sanddragon nymph/dragonfly (Progomphus obscurus) spotted along Dogue Creek at Wickford Park, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. This individual is an emergent male.

01 JUN 2016 | 10:25:22 am EDT | Elapsed time: 00:17:31

Soon, the folded wings were as long as the abdomen…but that didn’t last long.

A Common Sanddragon nymph/dragonfly (Progomphus obscurus) spotted along Dogue Creek at Wickford Park, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. This individual is an emergent male.

01 JUN 2016 | 10:31:02 am EDT | Elapsed time: 00:23:11

The fluid is then pumped back into the abdomen, and it expands. Source Credit: Paulson, Dennis (2011-12-19). Dragonflies and Damselflies of the East (Princeton Field Guides) (Kindle Locations 467-468). Princeton University Press. Kindle Edition.

Notice the wings are nearly clear in following photo, indicating the greenish-colored fluid that formerly filled the wings is almost gone. The abdomen is noticeably longer than the wings in this photo.

A Common Sanddragon nymph/dragonfly (Progomphus obscurus) spotted along Dogue Creek at Wickford Park, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. This individual is an emergent male.

01 JUN 2016 | 10:34:48 am EDT | Elapsed time: 00:26:57

Finally, the wings open up, and very soon the teneral adult flies away. Source Credit: Paulson, Dennis (2011-12-19). Dragonflies and Damselflies of the East (Princeton Field Guides) (Kindle Locations 468). Princeton University Press. Kindle Edition.

A Common Sanddragon nymph/dragonfly (Progomphus obscurus) spotted along Dogue Creek at Wickford Park, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. This individual is an emergent male.

01 JUN 2016 | 10:36:42 am EDT | Elapsed time: 00:28:51

The next-to-last photo shows the teneral dragonfly after waiting approximately 15 minutes for its wings to harden, just before first flight…

A Common Sanddragon nymph/dragonfly (Progomphus obscurus) spotted along Dogue Creek at Wickford Park, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. This individual is an emergent male.

01 JUN 2016 | 10:51:32 am EDT | Elapsed time: 00:43:41

The last photo shows the cast skin from the emergent dragonfly, technically known as an exuvia (singular). The white filaments that extend from the split in the thorax are breathing tubes, artifacts of the unique respiratory system of dragonfly nymphs.

A Common Sanddragon nymph/dragonfly (Progomphus obscurus) spotted along Dogue Creek at Wickford Park, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. This individual is an emergent male.

01 JUN 2016 | 10:52:12 am EDT | Elapsed time: 00:44:21

Related Resources:

  • Metamorphosis of a dragonfly – a blog post by Mike Powell documenting an emergent Common Sanddragon dragonfly observed on 03 June 2016 at Huntley Meadows Park
  • Emerging Common Sanddragons – a blog post by Walter Sanford featuring two emergent Common Sanddragon dragonflies observed at Patuxent Research Refuge
  • Miraculous metamorphis – a blog post by Walter Sanford documenting an emergent female Common Whitetail dragonfly at Huntley Meadows Park

Copyright © 2016 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

Peopoll’s Choice Awards – Top 10 Photos of 2015

January 4, 2016

Ladies and gentlemen, the people have spoken. It’s time to announce the winners of the Peopoll’s Choice Awards for my Top 10 Photos of 2015. The Top 10 photos were selected using reader feedback. Sincere thanks for your participation!

Award-winning photos are presented in order of most-to-least votes. The first five photos tied for the most votes. I cast the tie-breaking vote for the final winner.

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Top Photos of 2015

Click on the date (hyperlinked) to see the original post on my photoblog.

  1. 23 SEP 2015 | HMP | Roseate Skimmer (male)
  2. 05 AUG 2015 | WP/DC | Common Sanddragon (male)
  3. 05 AUG 2015 | HMP | Common Green Darner (mating pair, in tandem) Editor’s Note: This photo received the most votes for overall best photo.
  4. 10 JUL 2015 | HMP | Halloween Pennant (female)
  5. 29 JUN 2015 | HMP | Halloween Pennant (female) Editor’s Note: This photo is my personal favorite.
  6. 11 OCT 2015 | HMP | Great Spreadwing (male)
  7. 17 JUN 2015 | HMP | Great Blue Skimmer (mature male)
  8. 14 MAY 2015 | HMP | Blue Flag Iris
  9. 28 APR 2015 | HMP | Common Green Darner (mating pair, in wheel)
  10. 05 JUL 2015 | HMP | European Hornet (female)

Editor’s Note: The following location codes are used in the photo captions, shown above.

Copyright © 2016 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

Top 10 Photos of 2015

December 29, 2015

The following gallery shows 25 finalists for my “Top 10 Photos of 2015.” The photos are presented in reverse-chronological order beginning in November 2015 and ending in April 2015.

The Top 10 photos will be selected using reader feedback. Please enter a comment at the end of this post listing the number for each of your 10 favorite photos. If listing 10 photos is asking too much, then please list at least five photos, e.g., No. 2, 5, 11, 20, 21, etc. Thanks for sharing your selections, and thanks for following my photoblog!

No. 1

An Autumn Meadowhawk dragonfly (Sympetrum vicinum) spotted at Huntley Meadows Park, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. This individual is a male.

04 NOV 2015 | HMP | Autumn Meadowhawk (male)

No. 2

A Great Spreadwing damselfly (Archilestes grandis) spotted at Huntley Meadows Park, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. This individual is a male, nicknamed "Mr. Magoo."

15 OCT 2015 | HMP | Great Spreadwing (male)

No. 3

A Sweetflag Spreadwing damselfly (Lestes forcipatus) spotted at Huntley Meadows Park, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. This individual is a male.

15 OCT 2015 | HMP | Sweetflag Spreadwing (male)

No. 4

A Great Spreadwing damselfly (Archilestes grandis) spotted at Huntley Meadows Park, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. This individual is a male, nicknamed "Bendy Straw."

11 OCT 2015 | HMP | Great Spreadwing (male)

No. 5

A Twelve-spotted Skimmer dragonfly (Libellula pulchella) spotted at Huntley Meadows Park, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. This individual is a mature male.

23 SEP 2015 | HMP | Twelve-spotted Skimmer (male)

No. 6

A Roseate Skimmer dragonfly (Orthemis ferruginea) spotted at Huntley Meadows Park, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. This individual is a male.

23 SEP 2015 | HMP | Roseate Skimmer (male)

No. 7

A Roseate Skimmer dragonfly (Orthemis ferruginea) spotted at Huntley Meadows Park, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. This individual is a male.

23 SEP 2015 | HMP | Roseate Skimmer (male)

No. 8

A Common Sanddragon dragonfly (Progomphus obscurus) spotted at Dogue Creek, Wickford Park, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. This individual is a male.

05 AUG 2015 | WP/DC | Common Sanddragon (male)

No. 9

A mating pair of Common Green Darner dragonflies (Anax junius) spotted at Huntley Meadows Park, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. This pair is in tandem as the female lays eggs by the process of oviposition.

05 AUG 2015 | HMP | Common Green Darner (mating pair, in tandem)

No. 10

A Banded Pennant dragonfly (Celithemis fasciata) spotted at Mulligan Pond, Jackson Miles Abbott Wetland Refuge, Fairfax County, Virginia USA.

24 JUL 2015 | JMAWR | Banded Pennant (male)

No. 11

A Widow Skimmer dragonfly (Libellula luctuosa) spotted at Jackson Miles Abbott Wetland Refuge, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. This individual is a mature male.

24 JUL 2015 | JMAWR | Widow Skimmer (male)

No. 12

A Blue Dasher dragonfly (Pachydiplax longipennis) spotted at Huntley Meadows Park, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. This individual is a male.

10 JUL 2015 | HMP | Blue Dasher (male)

No. 13

A Halloween Pennant dragonfly (Celithemis eponina) spotted near Dogue Creek, Huntley Meadows Park, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. This individual is a female with a mild infestation of black water mites.

10 JUL 2015 | HMP | Halloween Pennant (female)

No. 14

A European Hornet (Vespa crabro) spotted at Huntley Meadows Park, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. This individual is a female.

05 JUL 2015 | HMP | European Hornet (female)

No. 15

A Halloween Pennant dragonfly (Celithemis eponina) spotted near Dogue Creek, Huntley Meadows Park, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. This individual is a female with a mild infestation of black water mites.

29 JUN 2015 | HMP | Halloween Pennant (female)

No. 16

A Common Wood Nymph butterfly (Cercyonis pegala) spotted at Huntley Meadows Park, Fairfax County, Virginia USA.

24 JUN 2015 | HMP | Common Wood Nymph

No. 17

A Great Blue Skimmer dragonfly (Libellula vibrans) spotted at Huntley Meadows Park, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. This individual is a mature male.

17 JUN 2015 | HMP | Great Blue Skimmer (mature male)

No. 18

A Twelve-spotted Skimmer dragonfly (Libellula pulchella) spotted at Huntley Meadows Park, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. This individual is a female.

22 MAY 2015 | HMP | Twelve-spotted Skimmer (female)

No. 19

A Painted Skimmer dragonfly (Libellula semifasciata) spotted at Huntley Meadows Park, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. This individual is a female.

22 MAY 2015 | HMP | Painted Skimmer (female)

No. 20

A Painted Skimmer dragonfly (Libellula semifasciata) spotted at Huntley Meadows Park, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. This individual is a female.

22 MAY 2015 | HMP | Painted Skimmer (female)

No. 21

A Painted Skimmer dragonfly (Libellula semifasciata) spotted at Huntley Meadows Park, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. This individual is a female.

20 MAY 2015 | HMP | Painted Skimmer (female)

No. 22

A Painted Skimmer dragonfly (Libellula semifasciata) spotted at Huntley Meadows Park, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. This individual is a female.

14 MAY 2015 | HMP | Painted Skimmer (female)

No. 23

Blue Flag Iris (Iris virginica) spotted at Huntley Meadows Park, Fairfax County, Virginia USA.

14 MAY 2015 | HMP | Blue Flag Iris

No. 24

A Southern Spreadwing damselfly (Lestes australis) spotted at Huntley Meadows Park, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. This individual is a male.

08 MAY 2015 | HMP | Southern Spreadwing (male)

No. 25

Common Green Darner dragonflies (mating pair, in wheel)

28 APR 2015 | HMP | Common Green Darner (mating pair, in wheel)

Editor’s Note: The following location codes are used in the photo captions, shown above.

Copyright © 2015 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

Ethical or unethical?

September 22, 2015

To Photoshop, or not to Photoshop, that is the question. Both the question and the answer aren’t as simple they may seem at face value. In essence, the question asks whether it’s acceptable to manipulate a photo in any way. I think every answer is a matter of personal opinion based upon individual ethical standards. More about that at the end of this post. For now, let’s look a specific case.

A recent blog post entitled Unusual viewpoints featured two photos of a female Halloween Pennant dragonfly (Celithemis eponina) spotted in a field located near Dogue Creek at Huntley Meadows Park. Before I published the post, I considered using Photoshop to remove some distracting elements in one of the photos; I decided to publish the photo “as is.”

BEFORE

The cluster of grasses in the lower-right corner of the photograph reminds me of exploding fireworks. Go figure! Point being, I think the grass cluster detracts from the photograph more than it contributes. The more I looked at the photo, the more I knew the distracting elements had to go.

A Halloween Pennant dragonfly (Celithemis eponina) spotted near Dogue Creek, Huntley Meadows Park, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. This individual is a female with a mild infestation of black water mites.

Aspect Ratio: Original Aspect Ratio (4 x 3)

AFTER

So I did what needed to be done: the distracting elements were removed; the image was reformatted to a 2 x 3 aspect ratio, a better fit for the Photoshopped version of the photo.

A Halloween Pennant dragonfly (Celithemis eponina) spotted near Dogue Creek, Huntley Meadows Park, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. This individual is a female with a mild infestation of black water mites.

Aspect Ratio: 2 x 3 (4 x 6)

I know which version I like better. Which one do you prefer, Before or After? Before choosing a favorite, I recommend viewing the full-size version of each photo.

Ethical Considerations

Back to the ethical question posed at the beginning of this post. Here’s how I rationalize removing the distracting elements. When shooting photos in the field, who among us hasn’t either moved or removed a blade of grass, etc. for better composition? If I had three arms and thought I could have moved the grass cluster without spooking the dragonfly, then I would have done it. Essentially that’s all I did, only I did it during post-processing. And more importantly, I did nothing to alter the dragonfly itself.

Is it OK to straighten and crop a photo? Is it OK to adjust white balance, exposure, color, contrast, etc.? Is it OK to reduce noise and sharpen images? Most photographers would answer “Yes, yes, yes!” In my opinion, Photoshop is just another tool in a photographer’s toolbox, albeit one used best with some restraint.

In the interest of full disclosure, whenever “Photoshop” is listed among the categories for one of my photoblog posts, then the reader knows Photoshop is one of the tools used during the creative process.

Related Resource: Odonart Portfolio.

Copyright © 2015 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

Unusual viewpoints

September 16, 2015

A single Halloween Pennant dragonfly (Celithemis eponina) was spotted in a field located near Dogue CreekHuntley Meadows Park (HMP). This individual is a female, as indicated by its coloration and terminal appendages; no males were spotted during the photowalk.

A Halloween Pennant dragonfly (Celithemis eponina) spotted near Dogue Creek, Huntley Meadows Park, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. This individual is a female with a mild infestation of black water mites.

10 JUL 2015 | HMP | Halloween Pennant (female)

The photos in this set were taken on a very windy day. The wind was blowing so hard the dragonfly struggled to hold onto her perch, as shown in the next photo when the pennant was almost flipped upside-down.

Notice the dragonfly has a mild infestation of parasitic black water mites.

A Halloween Pennant dragonfly (Celithemis eponina) spotted near Dogue Creek, Huntley Meadows Park, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. This individual is a female with a mild infestation of black water mites.

10 JUL 2015 | HMP | Halloween Pennant (female)

(See a full-size version of the preceding photo, without annotation.)

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

  • Genus Celithemis | Celithemis eponina | Halloween Pennant | female | top view
  • Genus Celithemis | Celithemis eponina | Halloween Pennant | female | side view
  • Genus Celithemis | Celithemis eponina | Halloween Pennant | male | top view
  • Genus Celithemis | Celithemis eponina | Halloween Pennant | male | side view

Copyright © 2015 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

Halloween Pennant dragonfly (female)

September 4, 2015

A single Halloween Pennant dragonfly (Celithemis eponina) was spotted in a field located between the parking lot at the head-end of the Hike-Bike Trail at Huntley Meadows Park (HMP) and Dogue Creek. This individual is a female, as indicated by its coloration and terminal appendages; no males were spotted during the photowalk.

As the name “pennant” suggests, this female was flipping like a flag on a pole in a fresh breeze. Needless to say, the windy weather made it challenging to achieve tack-sharp photos! Here are the four best photos from a set of 45.

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

05 AUG 2015 | HMP/Dogue Creek | Halloween Pennant (female)

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

05 AUG 2015 | HMP/Dogue Creek | Halloween Pennant (female)

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

05 AUG 2015 | HMP/Dogue Creek | Halloween Pennant (female)

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

05 AUG 2015 | HMP/Dogue Creek | Halloween Pennant (female)

Copyright © 2015 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

Eastern Amberwing dragonflies (female, male)

August 17, 2015
An Eastern Amberwing dragonfly (Perithemis tenera) spotted at Huntley Meadows Park, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. This individual is a female.

05 AUG 2015 | Dogue Creek | Eastern Amberwing (female)

I prefer the subtle coloration of female Eastern Amberwing dragonflies (Perithemis tenera), like the one shown above.

Some people like the gaudy coloration of male Eastern Amberwings, such as the one shown below.

An Eastern Amberwing dragonfly (Perithemis tenera) spotted at Huntley Meadows Park, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. This individual is a male.

29 JUN 2015 | Barnyard Run | Eastern Amberwing (male)

Both individuals were spotted either in or near Huntley Meadows Park.

The female is perching in a field located just south of Dogue Creek, near the head-end of the Hike-Bike Trail.

Step 3. Spend time in the field, literally. Take time to look carefully. Search fields near water (sometimes far from water) where you may find immature- and female dragonflies. BEWARE of chiggers and ticks! Source Credit: Five steps to the next level of dragonfly spotting.

The male is perching facing Barnyard Run, waiting for a hook-up with a female.

Copyright © 2015 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

Tiny Dancer

August 13, 2015

Family Coenagrionidae (Narrow-winged Damselflies) is comprised of 14 genera. Three genera are common in Northern Virginia: Argia (Dancers); Enallagma (American Bluets); and Ischnura (Forktails).

Several species of Argia are relatively common in Northern Virginia parks: Blue-tipped Dancer and Variable Dancer are featured in this post; Blue-fronted Dancer was featured in a recent blog post.

Blue-tipped Dancer

The first photo shows a Blue-tipped Dancer damselfly (Argia tibialis) perching on a sandy beach in the stream bed of Dogue Creek, Wickford Park. This individual is a male, as indicated by its coloration.

A Blue-tipped Dancer damselfly (Argia tibialis) spotted at Dogue Creek, Wickford Park, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. This individual is a male.

05 AUG 2015 | Wickford Park | Blue-tipped Dancer (male)

Variable Dancer

The next photo shows a Variable Dancer damselfly (Argia fumipennis) perching on vegetation along Dogue Creek, near Huntley Meadows Park. This individual is a male, as indicated by its coloration.

A Variable Dancer damselfly (Argia fumipennis) spotted at Dogue Creek near Huntley Meadows Park, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. This individual is a male.

05 AUG 2015 | Dogue Creek | Variable Dancer (male)

The last photo shows a mating pair of Variable Dancer damselflies (Argia fumipennis) spotted at Huntley Meadows Park (HMP). The pair is in tandem (a form of guarding behavior): the male (upper-left) guides the female (lower-right) to places where she can lay eggs in vegetation (endophytic oviposition).

A mating pair of Variable Dancer damselflies (Argia fumipennis) spotted at Huntley Meadows Park, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. The pair is in tandem.

05 AUG 2015 | HMP | Variable Dancer (mating pair, in tandem)

It’s helpful to get shots of mating pairs in tandem, since males and females of the same species can look quite different.

Sidebar: Scientific Classification of Damselflies

The following concise explanation of the scientific classification of damselflies is provided to help the reader understand where Argia (Dancers) fit into the bigger picture of the Order OdonataSuborder Zygoptera (Damselflies).

There are four families of damselflies in the United States of America, although only three families occur in the mid-Atlantic USA: Broad-winged damselflies; Narrow-winged damselflies (a.k.a., Pond Damselflies); and Spreadwing damselflies.

Family Calopterygidae is comprised of two genera.

Family Coenagrionidae is comprised of 14 genera. Three genera are common in Northern Virginia: Argia (Dancers); Enallagma (American Bluets); and Ischnura (Forktails).

Family Lestidae is comprised of two genera.

  • Archilestes (e.g., Great Spreadwing)
  • Lestes (e.g., Slender Spreadwing, Southern Spreadwing, Swamp Spreadwing)

There are relatively few genera of Broad-winged Damselflies and Spreadwing Damselflies. In contrast, there are many more genera and species of Narrow-winged Damselflies — more species, including many that look similar, makes this family the most challenging to learn!

Editor’s Note: Please comment to let me know whether the preceding information is helpful.

Related Resources:

Copyright © 2015 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

Surprise!

August 11, 2015

Common Sanddragon (Progomphus obscurus) is a member of the Clubtail Family of dragonflies that is spotted during June and July in mid-Atlantic United States like Virginia.

I thought I’d seen the last Common Sanddragons of 2015 in late June. Imagine my surprise when I saw one during the first week in August!

A Common Sanddragon dragonfly (Progomphus obscurus) spotted at Dogue Creek, Wickford Park, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. This individual is a male.

05 AUG 2015 | Wickford Park | Common Sanddragon (male)

This individual is a male, as indicated by his terminal appendages.

A Common Sanddragon dragonfly (Progomphus obscurus) spotted at Dogue Creek, Wickford Park, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. This individual is a male.

05 AUG 2015 | Wickford Park | Common Sanddragon (male)

He was perching on a sandy beach, facing the water, in the stream bed of Dogue Creek where it flows through Wickford Park.

A Common Sanddragon dragonfly (Progomphus obscurus) spotted at Dogue Creek, Wickford Park, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. This individual is a male.

05 AUG 2015 | Wickford Park | Common Sanddragon (male)

Notice the blue rock at the lower-right in the following photo. Azurite is a deep blue copper mineral produced by weathered copper ore, although I’m skeptical there are copper deposits located in/near Dogue Creek.

A Common Sanddragon dragonfly (Progomphus obscurus) spotted at Dogue Creek, Wickford Park, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. This individual is a male.

05 AUG 2015 | Wickford Park | Common Sanddragon (male)

Copyright © 2015 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.


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