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Posts Tagged ‘Libellula vibrans’

Most folks can readily identify a Great Blue Heron, but would you recognize a Great Blue Skimmer if you encountered one? This dragonfly’s wing pattern is fairly distinctive, but I usually look for its beautiful blue eyes and bright white face. I spotted these male Great Blue Skimmers (Libellula vibrans) on Monday at Huntley Meadows Park in Alexandria, Virginia.

Great Blue Skimmer

Great Blue Skimmer

Great Blue Skimmer

Great Blue Skimmer

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

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Many of the dragonflies that I see this late in the summer have wings that are torn and tattered, yet they seem to still fly perfectly well. The dragonflies clearly are survivors—survivors of encounters with predators and thorny vegetation or even of overly energetic mating sessions.

Last Friday I spotted this Great Blue Skimmer (Libellula vibrans) as it perched on some bent stalks of grass. He is not a perfect specimen, but I can’t help but be drawn in by his beautiful speckled blue eyes.

Yes, he still deserves to be called “great.”

Great Blue Skimmer

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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Females are a real mystery to me, especially when it comes to dragonflies. At this time of the year I see a lot of different dragonflies and I have featured a number of the colorful males over the past few weeks. They are relatively easy to identify when they are mature—immature males, however, often have the same coloration as females.

The challenge with females, particularly a number of the members of the Skimmer family, is that they all look pretty much the same.  This past Friday I photographed this beautiful female dragonfly and I love the two-toned coloration of her eyes. After consulting with my local dragonfly expert Walter Sanford, I have concluded that she is probably a Great Blue Skimmer (Libellula vibrans), though she doesn’t have a spot of blue on her

Great Blue Skimmer

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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I love the speckled blue eyes of the male Great Blue Skimmer dragonfly (Libellula vibrans), like this spectacular specimen I spotted Monday at Huntley Meadows Park in Alexandria, Virginia.

Great Blue Skimmer

Great Blue Skimmer

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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How was your summer? Did you take a vacation and relax or at least take some time off from work?

There are no vacations for dragonflies. It looks like this has been a long, hard summer for the male Great Blue Skimmer (Libellula vibrans) that I spotted earlier this month, judging from the almost shredded condition of his wings. Yet somehow, he is still able to fly and continues to survive

Autumn is almost upon us and the number of dragonflies that I observe is dropping. Before long, only a few hardy species will remain. For now, I take joy in seeing the tattered survivors, whose beauty is undiminished in my eyes.

Great Blue Skimmer

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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One of the dangers of shooting with a macro lens is that I am often so focused on shooting close-up that I forget to step back and look at the bigger picture.

A couple of days ago, I posted a photo of a dragonfly basking in the sun and felt pretty content that I had been able to capture a detailed shot of its eyes and face. I had instantly gravitated to several close-up images to the point that I temporarily forgot that my initial shots had been from a greater distance. As a result, I made my preliminary identification on the basis of the facial shot alone.

After I posted the image on Facebook, one of my fellow photographers, Walter Sanford, who is much more of an expert on dragonflies than I am, asked me if I had any shots of the dragonfly’s entire body, probably with a desire to check my identification. When I reviewed my more distant shots of the dragonfly, I was immediately struck by how tattered the wings were of this female Great Blue Skimmer (Libellula vibrans). Sure, I’ve seen lots of dragonflies with minor damage to the wings, but these are seriously tattered.

When I posted these follow-up images on Facebook, Walter replied, “Definitely an old female Great Blue Skimmer dragonfly, as indicated by its tattered wings, coloration, and flanges beneath the eighth abdominal segment. The flanges are used to scoop and hold a few drops of water when laying eggs (oviposition), hence the family name “skimmer.” ”

Be sure to check out Walter’s blog for his wonderful shots of dragonflies and his more  scientific descriptions of his subjects. My background was more in the liberal arts area rather than in science, and my writing in my blog tends to be a reflection of that background.
tattered_blog tattered2_blog

 

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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I was suffering in the heat and humidity on Friday, but this dragonfly, which I think is a female Great Blue Skimmer (Libellula vibrans), seemed to enjoy basking in the sunlight and let me get really close for this shot.

dragon_superclose_blog

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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