This month the odonata population (dragonflies, anisoptera, and damselflies, zygoptera) seems to have exploded in Palm Beach County. We’ve had dozens of dragonflies patrolling our pool, (tonight it even looked like a few of them were trying, in a not very evolutionarily adaptive way, to lay eggs in it!). But we’ve also had a few of their daintier cousins, the damselflies, disporting themselves quite shamelessly. Here are a few snapshots of the damselflies.
These Common Spreadwings were enjoying the foliage around our pool while their larger cousins, the dragonflies, were patrolling the airspace above the water (they were a bit shy, and the closest camera to hand was the one with the “normal,” not telephoto, lens, so this was the best pic I got):
Last weekend, on a field trip in western Palm Beach county, we ran across a number of damselflies, including this Rambur’s Forktail:
And this immature Rambur’s Forktail (Ischnura ramburii):
The immature Rambur’s Forktail looks an awful lot like a Citrine Forktail (I. hastata), but the black stripe on top of the abdomen goes the entire length to the end of the tail; Eastern Forktail (I. verticalis) has a black stripe on the thorax.
That’s about it, at least as far as photographed damselflies goes. And I’m simply incapable of field identification on these little beasties; the only chance I stand is to grab a picture, take it home, blow it up, and compare it to known species, either in a book or online. The only field guide to Florida’s damselflies, by Sid Dunkle, is long out of print; Dennis Paulson’s new guide to eastern dreagonflies and damselflies is forthcoming, but since it focuses on both groups, I’m worried about short coverage…