Some more damsels of August [Updated]

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Last week I noticed a couple more damselflies; these guys were in the front yard instead of the back yard.

The first two pictures are from Saturday August 20th:

This next shot is from Monday the 22nd. I’m not sure, but I think this might be the same individual, just a bit older and a lot bluer (you can really see the difference in the thorax (the chest section). I really have no idea who these guys were, and I haven’t gotten any IDs on this guy/these guys from my normally reliable bugguide.net.

But […]

A few damselflies from August

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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 […]

Dragonfly week comes to a close

Wow, my first-ever Dragonfly Week is already drawing to a close, and I have so many more things I was going to write about! I had planned to at least mention some of the adaptations that go into the incredible aerial feats performed by these “primitive” insects, like their offset thorax, their wings (structurally, they have spars and struts to stiffen the otherwise flimsy “cellophane”; functionally, they have independent 4-wing drive, rather than the “paired” flight evolved by other insects, e.g., Lepidoptera and Hymenoptera; physiologically they have “what may well be the most massive mitochondria in the animal kingdom [Corbet […]

Another darner from a couple of years ago

Going through my old photo files has been fun for me; last night I found a slightly better photo of Coryphaeschna ingens, the Regal Darner [UPDATE:Gynacantha nervosa, Twilight Darner] who visited us during Tropical Storm Fay. I also ran across a couple of untagged photos of other species that I knew I’d seen, but couldn’t find in my files (lesson: ALWAYS apply photo tags). One of the untagged photos that I found is this Common Green Darner (Anax junius) that I saw on one of my lunchtime walks at Fern Forest: I knew I’d seen these guys before, but I’d […]

A darner from a couple of years ago: Gynacantha nervosa

A two-year-old mystery has come closer to being solved, thanks to the friendly folks at bugguide.net. You see, back when Tropical Storm Fay blew into town on August 18, 2008, a large dragonfly took shelter on our porch:

It is long and slender-bodied, almost like a knitting or darning needle. I can recall that it was quite large; I don’t think I’d ever seen such a large dragonfly so close before. The eyes are huge; see how there’s no “top of the head” on this guy? There’s eyes, and nothing else. And as you can see, it was […]

A dragonfly in the oak tree

I think everyone likes to learn things. I know I do. Last week when I spotted a dragonfly perched in the oak tree out front, I grabbed my camera and binoculars to investigate a bit further. Perched Dragonflies are Much Easier to Identify than Flying Dragonflies.

There are 169 species records in Florida now, but these include both the zygoptera (damselwings) and the anisoptera (dragonflies); I’m not sure what the breakdown between the two groups is. [UPDATE: According to this website, there are now 123 dragonfly species in the state, and 47 damselfly species, which brings us up to 170 […]

Dragonfly species of Palm Beach County

My post about the Pierides the other day got me thinking of Alexander Pope’s advice, in his Essay on Criticism: “A little learning is a dang’rous thing; Drink deep, or taste not the Pierian spring.”

Pieria was a region in ancient Macedonia, rather than Thessaly where Pierus and his daughters (the Pierides) lived. But Macedonia was where Mount Olympus was supposed to be, and the Muses (also called the Pierides after they pwned Pierus’s daughters in the earliest episode of Ancient Greek Idol) hung out there. So Pieria might well have been named for the Muses, rather than the ancient […]

Backyard animals in June

There aren’t a ton of animals visible in the steamy sunny heat of late June here in Boca; those few that there are, apart from the omnipresent mockingbird and his counterpart in red, the cardinal, tend to be insects. Here’s a blue dasher dragonfly that seems to favor a perch on the spicewood tree on the side of our house:

As you can see from the red eyes, this is a not-quite-mature male (the adult male has green eyes). But he’s got the adult male body coloration: blue abdomen with black on the tip, and yellow on the […]