Posts Tagged ‘Dolomedes triton’

Seeing the bigger picture

March 2, 2015

Eastern Pondhawk dragonflies (Erythemis simplicicollis) mate quickly.

Copulation brief (averages 20 sec) and aerial, may be followed by resting period. Source Credit: Paulson, Dennis (2011-12-19). Dragonflies and Damselflies of the East (Princeton Field Guides) (Kindle Location 10228). Princeton University Press. Kindle Edition.

Last fall, I was a man on a mission to photograph this fleeting event.

What I saw.

In my experience, some species of dragonflies are creatures of habit that return to the same location day-after-day. I noticed a couple of adult male Eastern Pondhawks that returned to two nearby spots alongside the boardwalk at Huntley Meadows Park for several weeks. Both males successfully hooked up with females two- to three times a day, on average. I “camped out” near one male or the other — sometimes for hours a day — and waited for an opportunity to get a shot of a mating pair in wheel. I followed the exploits of the dynamic duo until they disappeared a few weeks after I spotted them for the first time.

Eastern Pondhawk dragonflies (mating pair, in wheel)

10 September 2014 | Mating pair (in wheel)

The female, shown below, rested a while after she mated (above).

Eastern Pondhawk dragonflies (female, resting after copulation)

10 September 2014 | Female member, mating pair

What I didn’t see/what you don’t see (in the preceding photo).

I was so focused on the mating pair of dragonflies that I never noticed the fishing spider, possibly a Six-spotted Fishing Spider (Dolomedes triton), lurking in the lower-left corner of the photo! The spider is probably the same individual featured in a recent post. (See Spider exoskeleton.”) If I had seen the spider, then I would have composed the photograph without “clipping” one of its legs.

Eastern Pondhawk dragonflies (female, resting after copulation)

10 September 2014 | Eastern Pondhawk dragonfly (female)/fishing spider

So what’s the take-away from this pleasant “post-processing surprise?” It’s important — although admittedly challenging when shooting dynamic subjects — to try to see the bigger picture when looking through the viewfinder of a camera.

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Copyright © 2015 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

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Spider exoskeleton

February 12, 2015

A spider exoskeleton (after molting) was spotted during a photowalk along the boardwalk at Huntley Meadows Park. The exoskeleton is probably from a species of fishing spider, possibly a Six-spotted Fishing Spider (Dolomedes triton). The smaller insects are water striders, possibly in the Family Veliidae.

Spider exoskeleton (after molting)

26 September 2014

The following fishing spider was spotted for several days in the same location as the exoskeleton. It’s possible, perhaps probable, the exoskeleton formerly belonged to this individual.

Fishing spider

15 September 2014

Editor’s Note: Thanks to Ashley Bradford, amateur naturalist/photographer extraordinaire, for identifying the spider exoskeleton and water striders.

Copyright © 2015 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.


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