Dragonflies: eyes and a face

Blue Dasher (Pachydiplax longipennis). Boca Raton, FL, May 7, 2013.

Those of you who grew up in the 1980s might remember Billy Idol’s rock ballad “Eyes Without a Face.” It’s a catchy little song that owes its title to Jean Redon’s grisly horror novel Les yeux sans visage, which was adapted to the big screen back in 1962 and featured serial murders, a doctor’s daughter in an eerie face mask, and lots of gore, although the film version apparently toned it down quite a bit. Billy Idol’s sung version cast off all the gore and just went for despair and angst with strong guitars and a catchy rock beat. Nevertheless, [...]

When dragonflies don’t…

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fly, that is.

This morning when Eric and I went outside to plant some basil (yes, November is the start of herb-growing season here in south Florida), we noticed a dragonfly on the wall of the house that wasn’t moving very much. One of its wings was at an odd angle:

On closer inspection, it looked like this Blue Dasher (known to odonate enthusiasts as Pachydiplax longipennis) had sustained some kind of damage to the thorax; perhaps the little gal flew into a window or something:

Here’s a detail of that same shot:

The [...]

A really bad day for a Regal Darner

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Think you’re having a bad day? At least you’re not upside down in a swimming pool:

This dragonfly, with the noble name Regal Darner (Coryphaeschna ingens), was still beating its wings, so I scooped it out of the pool and put it on the deck, where it appeared rather bedraggled.

It was disoriented and appeared frantic to remain near the water; perhaps this head shot, in which you can see how damaged its left eye is, explains why:

And, as it turns out, my rescue attempt wasn’t very successful. As soon as I turned [...]

Blue Dasher bonanza [updated Feb 2012]

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It was a lot of fun sitting out back proofreading this morning. The humidity is down, so the temperature, while “the same” according to the thermometer as it was before T.S. Nicole/T.D. 16 blew through, is a lot more livable. (It’s starting to feel like fall; the typical way it arrives here in south Florida: an inch at a time, with lots of backsliding and sweating a la summer.)

I’m not sure whether it’s connected to the nicer weather, but we had what I would almost call an infestation of dragonflies today: mostly Blue Dashers, but a few larger skimmer [...]

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:

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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 [...]

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 [...]

Fay's creatures

Well, Tropical Storm Fay has left south Florida, although apparently it’s STILL not done with the state, stalled out somewhere near Jacksonville. Our home rain gauge showed 4.5 inches on Monday, and a little over 3 inches on Tuesday, but only .16 yesterday, and none at all (as far as I know) today.

But what we did get out the bargain was an up close look at some beasties.

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