Posts Tagged ‘Libellula cyanea’

Skimmertime, and the livin’ is easy.

May 24, 2019

Skimmers (Family Libellulidae) — like this female Spangled Skimmer dragonfly (Libellula cyanea) — remind me of “Summertime,” a classic song from the opera Porgy and Bess.

One of these mornings you’re gonna rise up singing
And you’ll spread your wings and you’ll take to the sky

This individual was spotted during a photowalk around a small pond with my good friend Mike Powell.

21 MAY 2019 | Northern Virginia | Spangled Skimmer (female)

The last two photos are similar takes on the same pose.

21 MAY 2019 | Northern Virginia | Spangled Skimmer (female)

21 MAY 2019 | Northern Virginia | Spangled Skimmer (female)

Gear talk

All of the photos featured in this blog post are uncropped JPGs, that is, full resolution for the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ300 superzoom bridge camera (4,000 x 3,000 pixels), published “as is” straight from the camera. I tweaked the settings for in-camera processing of JPG files and I must say I think the results look good!

It’s worth noting that I always shoot/save/edit RAW photo files. Period, full stop. I have been using JPG (Fine) plus RAW (actually, RW2) while field testing the FZ300.

Deeper dive

I recently expressed disappointment and frustration with the performance of my newer Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ300 superzoom digital camera versus my older Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ150. After making the switch to shooting in Manual Mode, I’m pleased to report I think I’ve found a new “set it and forget it” configuration for the FZ300.

In Manual Mode, my “walking around” settings are ISO 100, an aperture of f/4.5, and a shutter speed of 1/800 s. All of the photos in this post were shot at f/4.5.

The camera features three Custom Modes: C1; C2; and C3. C1 uses all of the “walking around” settings, except for changing the aperture to f/5.6; C2 uses an aperture of f/6.3; and C3 uses an aperture of 7.1. With the mode dial set for “C” it’s easy to switch from one custom mode to another by pressing the menu button and selecting one of the three custom settings, depending upon the desired depth of field.

An external flash unit is used in Manual mode;. The power ratio is adjusted for proper exposure, depending upon the aperture: more power is necessary with a smaller aperture (larger f-stop number); less power for a larger aperture (smaller f-stop number).

As I mentioned previously, I tweaked the settings for in-camera processing of JPG files: Photo Style = Standard; Contrast = +2; Sharpness = +2; Noise Reduction = 0; and Saturation = 0.

Noise reduction can be a good thing, but NR can soften image sharpness so it’s an adjustment I prefer to make in post-processing.

Related Resource: DMC-FZ150 versus DMC-FZ300, a blog post by Walter Sanford.

Copyright © 2019 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

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Seamless transition

May 27, 2018

A seamless transition from the spring species of odonates to the summer species is slowly but surely underway.

Spangled Skimmer (Libellula cyanea) is a summer species that starts to appear in Northern Virginia in late spring. The following individual — spotted at Hidden Pond during a photowalk at Meadowood Recreation Area (MRA), Fairfax County, Virginia USA — is a teneral female, as indicated by her tenuous wings and terminal appendages.

21 MAY 2018 | MRA | Spangled Skimmer (teneral female)

Female Spangled Skimmers have a pair of flanges beneath their eighth abdominal segment that are used to scoop and hold a few drops of water when laying eggs (oviposition), hence the family name “Skimmer.” Remember that all dragonflies and damselflies have a 10-segmented abdomen, numbered from front to back.

Copyright © 2018 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

Star Spangled Fourth (2016 Edition)

July 4, 2016

In celebration of the Fourth of July, it is my honor to present a color guard of several Spangled Skimmer dragonflies (Libellula cyanea) spotted at three locations in Northern Virginia. All three individuals are males, as indicated by their coloration and terminal appendages.

Mulligan Pond, Jackson Miles Abbott Wetland Refuge

A Spangled Skimmer dragonfly (Libellula cyanea) spotted at Mulligan Pond, Jackson Miles Abbott Wetland Refuge, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. This individual is a male.

14 JUN 2016 | JMAWR | Spangled Skimmer (male)

Painted Turtle Pond, Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge

A Spangled Skimmer dragonfly (Libellula cyanea) spotted at Painted Turtle Pond, Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge, Prince William County, Virginia USA. This individual is a male.

18 JUN 2016 | OBNWR | Spangled Skimmer (male)

Hidden Pond, Meadowood Recreation Area

A Spangled Skimmer dragonfly (Libellula cyanea) spotted at Hidden Pond, Meadowood Recreation Area, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. This individual is a male.

21 JUN 2016 | MRA | Spangled Skimmer (male)

Copyright © 2016 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

Spangled Skimmer dragonfly (teneral male)

June 6, 2016

Spangled Skimmer dragonfly (Libellula cyanea) was spotted along Beaver Pond Loop Trail at Accotink Bay Wildlife Refuge (ABWR).

A Spangled Skimmer dragonfly (Libellula cyanea) spotted at Accotink Bay Wildlife Refuge, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. This individual is a teneral male.

20 MAY 2016 | ABWR | Spangled Skimmer (teneral male)

This individual is a teneral male, as indicated by its coloration and terminal appendages. As a mature male, his eyes will be dark bluish-black and blue pruinescence will cover its body (thorax and abdomen).

A Spangled Skimmer dragonfly (Libellula cyanea) spotted at Accotink Bay Wildlife Refuge, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. This individual is a teneral male.

20 MAY 2016 | ABWR | Spangled Skimmer (teneral male)

Tech Tips:

The first photo of the dragonfly was taken by looking through a “keyhole” in a thicket of vegetation. Two camera settings are critical for enabling this type of shot: Autofocus Mode (one-area-focusing, using center focus point); and Metering Mode (Spot).

Copyright © 2016 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

Star Spangled Fourth

July 4, 2015

Happy Independence Day! The stars of this post are Spangled Skimmer dragonflies (Libellula cyanea) spotted in the fields at Huntley Meadows Park.

The Spangled Skimmer is easily differentiated from similar-looking brown-and-yellow and/or blue dragonflies by its distinctive black-and-white pterostigmas located along the leading edge of all four wings (toward the wingtips).

Females

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

14 MAY 2015 | Huntley Meadows Park | Spangled Skimmer (female)

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

14 MAY 2015 | Huntley Meadows Park | Spangled Skimmer (female)

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

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

22 MAY 2015 | Huntley Meadows Park | Spangled Skimmer (female)

Notice the following female doesn’t look as “fresh” as the females spotted during May.

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

29 JUN 2015 | Huntley Meadows Park | Spangled Skimmer (female)

Female Spangled Skimmers have a pair of flanges beneath their eighth abdominal segment (S8) that are used to scoop water when laying eggs (oviposition), hence the family name “Skimmer.” Remember that all dragonflies and damselflies have a 10-segmented abdomen, numbered from front to back.

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

29 JUN 2015 | Huntley Meadows Park | Spangled Skimmer (female)

Males

Immature male Spangled Skimmers and immature/adult female Spangled Skimmers (shown above) are nearly identical in appearance except for their terminal appendages.

A Spangled Skimmer dragonfly (Libellula cyanea) spotted  at Huntley Meadows Park, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. This individual is an immature male.

22 MAY 2015 | Huntley Meadows Park | Spangled Skimmer (immature male)

Contrast the astounding difference in appearance between immature male and adult male Spangled Skimmers.

A Spangled Skimmer dragonfly (Libellula cyanea) spotted  at Huntley Meadows Park, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. This individual is an adult male.

26 MAY 2015 | Huntley Meadows Park | Spangled Skimmer (adult male)

Related Resources:

Copyright © 2015 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

Spangled Skimmer dragonfly terminal appendages

June 10, 2015

Spangled Skimmer (Libellula cyanea) is a member of the Skimmer Family of dragonflies that is spotted during the summer months at many water bodies in the mid-Atlantic United States, such as the wetlands at Huntley Meadows Park (HMP).

Spangled Skimmers display sexual dimorphism. Although mature males and females look different, immature males and females look similar. Terminal appendages may be used to differentiate immature males from females.

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

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

22 MAY 2015 | HMP | Spangled Skimmer (female)

Look closely at the full-size version of the following annotated image. Female Spangled Skimmers have two flanges beneath their eighth abdominal segment (S8) that are used to scoop water when laying eggs (oviposition), hence the family name “Skimmer.” Remember that all dragonflies and damselflies have a 10-segmented abdomen, numbered from front to back.

Another useful field marker that may be used to differentiate males from females: females have broad dark wing tips; males, not so much.

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”).

A Spangled Skimmer dragonfly (Libellula cyanea) spotted  at Huntley Meadows Park, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. This individual is an immature male.

22 MAY 2015 | HMP | Spangled Skimmer (immature male)

Blue pruinescence that covers the body of following mature male Spangled Skimmer makes it look quite different from the immature male (shown above), other than its terminal appendages and distinctive black-and-white pterostigmata.

A Spangled Skimmer dragonfly (Libellula cyanea) spotted at Huntley Meadows Park, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. This individual is a male.

26 JUN 2012 | HMP | Spangled Skimmer (mature male)

Related Resources: Odonate Terminal Appendages.

Copyright © 2015 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

Spangled Skimmers: immature male versus female

July 7, 2014

Spangled Skimmer dragonflies (Libellula cyanea) are easy to recognize because of their distinctive black-and-white pterostigmata, located on the leading edge of all four wings, toward the wing tips. Spangled Skimmers display sexual dimorphism, that is, coloration is different for mature males and females.

Immature male- and mature female Spangled Skimmers are nearly identical in appearance except for their terminal appendages. Another useful field marker: females have broad dark wing tips; males, not so much.

The following gallery features an immature male spotted on 25 May 2014 near a vernal pool far from the central wetland area at Huntley Meadows Park.

The next gallery shows a female spotted on 06 June 2014 along the gravel road between the Hike-Bike Trail and the new observation platform located on the southwestern side of the central wetland area.

Notice the dark spots on the female’s wing tips. A side view of the female (see Photo 6) shows another observable difference between male- and female Spangled Skimmers: Females have a pair of flanges beneath their eighth abdominal segment (segments are numbered from front to back) that are used to scoop and hold a few drops of water during oviposition, hence the family name “Skimmer.” Photo 3 (above) shows a partial side view of the immature male. Look underneath his eighth abdominal segment … no flanges!

The following slideshow features the two photos in this post that show the difference between the terminal appendages of male- and female Spangled Skimmer dragonflies most clearly. All 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. Can you see the difference between their terminal appendages?

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Copyright © 2014 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

Malformed odonates

November 26, 2013

Among hundreds of dragonflies spotted during the past few years, some were obviously malformed.

Some [odonates] don’t emerge properly and end up with damaged wings or bent abdomens. I have seen adults with slightly bent abdomens competing and mating normally, but if the wings don’t develop normally, those genes are probably leaving the gene pool. Source Credit: Beaton, Giff (2007-03-15). Dragonflies and Damselflies of Georgia and the Southeast. University of Georgia Press.

The following retrospective is presented in reverse chronological order.

A male Common Green Darner dragonfly (Anax junius) was spotted at Huntley Meadows Park on 28 April 2015. This individual has a malformed wing: one of its two hind wings didn’t expand to full-size during emergence.

Common Green Darner dragonfly (male, malformed wing)

A male Blue-faced Meadowhawk dragonfly (Sympetrum ambiguum) was spotted at Huntley Meadows Park on 20 October 2014. This individual has a slight bend in its abdomen between S5 and S6. Remember that “S5 and S6″ refers to abdominal Segments 5 and 6 (of 10), numbered from front to back.

Blue-faced Meadowhawk dragonfly (male, malformed abdomen)

A male Autumn Meadowhawk dragonfly (Sympetrum vicinum), shown below, was spotted at Huntley Meadows Park on 15 November 2013. Notice that this individual has a slightly bent abdomen.

The following gallery shows a female Blue-faced Meadowhawk dragonfly (Sympetrum ambiguum) spotted at Huntley Meadows Park on 17 September 2013. This individual is an andromorph that has a slightly malformed abdomen.

The following male Slaty Skimmer dragonfly (Libellula incesta) was spotted at Huntley Meadows Park on 06 June 2012. This individual has an extremely malformed abdomen.

A female Spangled Skimmer dragonfly (Libellula cyanea) was spotted on 04 June 2012 in a large meadow far from the central wetland area at Huntley Meadows Park. This dragonfly, shown below, has a slightly malformed abdomen.

The following immature male Great Blue Skimmer dragonfly (Libellula vibrans) was spotted at Huntley Meadows Park on 17 May 2012. This individual has a slightly malformed wing. He was very skittish and flew away after just a couple of photos, so I’m guessing it went on to live a normal life as an adult.

Copyright © 2013 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

Spangled Skimmer dragonfly (immature male)

June 15, 2013

The following photos show a Spangled Skimmer dragonfly (Libellula cyanea) spotted in an open field along the trail to Hidden Pond, a small lake located at Meadowood Recreation Area in Fairfax County, Virginia USA. This individual is an immature male, as indicated by its coloration and the terminal appendages at the end of its abdomen.

Spangled Skimmer dragonfly (immature male) Spangled Skimmer dragonfly (immature male)

Copyright © 2013 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

Cleared for takeoff!

February 1, 2013

The following photo features three male dragonflies perching on a tree branch at Huntley Meadows Park, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. Shown from left to right: Slaty Skimmer (Libellula incesta); Needham’s Skimmer (Libellula needhami); Spangled Skimmer (Libellula cyanea). I imagine the three dragonflies are jets parked in a queue on an airport runway, waiting to receive clearance for takeoff.

P1120977-rw2-ver4_aperture-bfxP1120977-rw2-ver2_aperture-bfx

Copyright © 2013 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved. www.wsanford.com


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