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Archive for the ‘damselfly’ Category

Liaison dangereuse? Living life on the edge? That’s how I would characterize these mating Big Bluet damselflies (Enallagma durum) that I spotted on Monday at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge. Neither of them was harmed during their “activity,” though those thorns look really menacing.

It is definitely not what I would call “safe sex.”

Big Bluet

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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On Friday I spotted this female Blue-tipped Dancer damselfly (Argia tibialis) alongside a creek in Prince William County, Virginia. The fallen leaves provided a nice backdrop for the damselfly and remind me that the days of the summer are numbered.

Some of you undoubtedly noticed that there is no blue tip on this Blue-tipped Dancer. As is often the case for species names for insects (and for birds too), the name applies primarily to the males of the species. There is, however, some variety among female Blue-tipped Dancers, with a blue variant, as seen below, and a brown variant.

Blue-tipped Dancer

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

 

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Recently there seems to have been an explosion of Big Bluet damselflies (Enallagma durum) at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge. This damselfly species is a coastal species and usually likes brackish water. Not surprisingly I saw them repeatedly yesterday as I walked along a trail near the water’s edge.

I like the first shot a lot, because of the repeated angled lines that provide a nice contrast with the damselfly. The second image shows a mating Big Bluet couple in a position known as the “wheel” that is viewed by many as a sidewards heart. As is usually the case with insects and with birds, the male Big Bluet is the more brightly-colored than his female counterpart.

 

Big Bluet

Big Bluet

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

 

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Last Saturday I spotted this Blue-fronted Dancer damselfly (Argia apicalis) couple while exploring Riverbend Park in Great Falls, Virginia. I like this shot because it gives a good sense of the differences in coloration between the male and the female of this species. Most of the time when the damselflies are coupled, they are in contorted positions and most of the body of one or the other damselfly is out of focus in my photos. In this case, the damselflies are in the tandem position, but appear to be resting.

Blue-fronted Dancer

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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Yesterday as I was exploring a creek in Prince William County, Virginia I spotted this large damselfly. I marveled at its beautiful coloration and was happy to be able to capture an image that shows it off well. At the time I took the photo I was not certain of the species, but when I returned home and looked in my damselfly book, I learned that it is a male Powdered Dancer damselfly (Argia moesta).

As a Powdered Dancer male gets older, its thorax and the tip of its abdomen become covered with a powdery blue or gray substance in a process known as pruinescence. Eventually the male will look almost white, which makes it even easier to identify. So many damselflies have a lot of blue on their bodies that it is hard for me to be confident in my identification when I see a damselfly with blue coloration.

Powdered Dancer

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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During a brief trip to Massachusetts last weekend, I photographed this beautiful damselfly, which I believe is an immature female Eastern Forktail damselfly (Ischnura verticalis), while exploring Horn Pond in Woburn.

When I looked at the range map for this species, it looked like it is not present in my home area of Northern Virginia. However, when I did a search of my blog postings, I was surprised to discover that I had previously photographed an orange Eastern Forktail at one of my favorite local spots. Obviously I am not someone who keeps a “life list” of all the species that I have seen and photographed. 🙂

Eastern Forktail

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

 

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I am not sure if Blue-fronted Dancer damselflies (Argia apicalis) are always happy, but the ones that I spotted yesterday at Jackson Miles Abbott Wetland Refuge seemed to be smiling at me.

The beautiful light blue color on their upper bodies and their striking blue eyes make Blue-fronted Dancers relatively easy to spot and to identify.

Blue-fronted Dancer

Blue-fronted Dancer

Blue-fronted Dancer

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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