Posts Tagged ‘Long-jawed Orb Weaver’

Stealthy spider stalks Swift Setwing

September 4, 2020

There I was, trying to create some Odonart©.

18 AUG 2020 | 12:02:18 PM | JMAWR | Swift Setwing (male)

As I “worked the shot,” the imaginary soundtrack in my mind reminded me of the music bed at the beginning of Bambi Meets Godzilla. Peaceful. And just as suddenly as the animated film ends rudely, the idyllic scene before my eyes took a turn for the ugly!

Cue the Jaws Theme Song as the walk-on music for a Long-jawed Orb Weaver.

18 AUG 2020 | 12:03:10 PM | JMAWR | Swift Setwing (male)

52 seconds of elapsed time could have been the difference between life and death for the dragonfly. As far as I know, the Swift Setwing survived this near-death experience.

The Backstory

Swift Setwing dragonfly (Dythemis velox) was spotted during a photowalk with Michael Powell around Mulligan Pond at Jackson Miles Abbott Wetland Refuge (JMAWR) in Fairfax County, Virginia USA. This individual is a male, as indicated by his terminal appendages.

The first photo was taken when the dragonfly landed on a grass stem near the shoreline of the pond. Soon afterward his wings were “set” forward in the position from which the latter part of its common name is derived, as shown in the last photo. It is assumed by the author that the set wing position enables the dragonfly to take flight swiftly — a useful adaptation when being stalked by a stealthy spider!

Copyright © 2020 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

Long-jawed Orb Weavers

February 10, 2018

Long-jawed Orb Weavers (Family Tetragnathidae) are commonly spotted at Mulligan Pond, Jackson Miles Abbott Wetland Refuge, Fairfax County, Virginia USA.

02 AUG 2017 | JMAWR | Long-jawed Orb Weaver

The common name is due to the extended length of the chelicerae (jaws) compared to those of other orb weavers (Araneidae). Source Credit: Family Tetragnathidae – Long-jawed Orb Weavers, BugGuide.

05 SEP 2017 | JMAWR | Long-jawed Orb Weaver

Related Resources

Copyright © 2018 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

Odonate exuviae (in situ)

September 12, 2015

Odonates are aquatic insects that spend most of their life as larvae that live in water; this stage of their life cycle can last from a few months to a few years. Finally, they emerge from the water and metamorphose into adults in order to reproduce; their offspring return to the water and the cycle begins again.

Careful and/or lucky observers will notice exuviae (sing. exuvia), also known as either “cast skins” or “shed skins,” left behind when odonate larvae emerge.

The first three photographs show exuviae of odonates that emerged from the bioswale at the head-end of the Hike-Bike Trail at Huntley Meadows Park.

The flash/no-flash debate is settled in my mind, as evidenced by the preceding two-image gallery of photos. Although the photo shown on the left may have a more natural or “artier” look, critical detail is lost in the shadows, including the Long-jawed Orb Weaver (Family Tetragnathidae) lurking in the darkness on the left-most cattail rush!

The next photo shows cast skins from two different species of odonates. Most experts agree it is virtually impossible to identify exuviae to the species level using only photographs, although some cast skins are so distinctive it is possible to identify the family from a photo.

Two odonate exuviae (genus/species unknown) spotted at Huntley Meadows Park, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. These individuals emerged from the bioswale at the head-end of the Hike-Bike Trail.

05 AUG 2015 | HMP | two odonate exuviae (genus/species unknown)

The last photograph shows a cast skin spotted in the central wetland area, near beginning of boardwalk.

An odonate exuvia (genus/species unknown) spotted at Huntley Meadows Park, Fairfax County, Virginia USA.

21 AUG 2015 | HMP | odonate exuvia (genus/species unknown)

Related Resources: Be forewarned — identification of odonate larvae is difficult at best and impossible at worst. If you enjoy a challenge, then here are a few free resources that should be helpful.

Editor’s Note: Collecting specimens is prohibited at Huntley Meadows Park. Further, a permit for Collection of Wildlife for Scientific and/or Educational Purposes is required anywhere in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Copyright © 2015 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

Banded Pennant dragonfly (male)

July 30, 2015

Several Banded Pennant dragonflies (Celithemis fasciata) were spotted during a photowalk around Mulligan Pond, Jackson Miles Abbott Wetland Refuge, including three males and a mating pair in wheel.

This individual is a male, as indicated by its coloration and terminal appendages. (Female Banded Pennants feature yellow spots along their abdomen.)

The color palette of the photographs complements the coloration of the Banded Pennant. The juxtaposition of man-made and natural objects is visually appealing. (Really, why is there a single piece of rebar sticking out of the pond?)

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)

Regular readers of my photoblog know I’m especially fond of head-tilts in which the dragonfly seems to display some of its personality.

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)

Look-out below…

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)

The following photo shows a Long-jawed Orb Weaver (Family Tetragnathidae) stalking the Banded Pennant. I was so focused on photographing the dragonfly I never noticed the “bonus bug” until I looked at the image on the big screen of my computer. In case anyone is concerned for the Banded Pennant’s welfare, it flew away when the spider was too close for comfort. Box score: Dragonflies (1); Spiders (0).

Editor’s Notes: Thanks to Dr. Edward Eder, a good friend and great amateur naturalist, for identifying the spider. Also, sincere thanks to Dr. Eder for giving me a heads-up when he spotted a Banded Pennant at Mulligan Pond recently.

Copyright © 2015 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.


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