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Posts Tagged ‘male Fine-lined Emerald’

What signposts mark for you the transition from summer to autumn? Many folks might point to changes in the foliage colors or cooler weather, but for me the spotting of my first Fine-lined Emerald dragonfly (Somatochlora filosa) marks an unofficial beginning to the new season.

Fine-lined Emeralds are a relatively uncommon dragonfly species, both locally as well as nationally. They seem to prefer a coastal plain and are active for only about a month, generally the month of September. Yesterday I visited Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge, a place where I have seen Fine-lined Emeralds in the past, and I was thrilled when I eventually spotted one. However, it took me several hours before I was able to capture this shot, because most of the Fine-lined Emeralds that I saw flew by me without stopping and I would lose them when I gave chase.

You probably noticed a few things about this dragonfly when you looked at the photo. First, it is clear why the family to which this dragonfly belongs is called “Emerald”—those brilliant green eyes are mesmerizing. Secondly, you can’t help but notice that Fine-lined Emeralds do not perch horizontally like most dragonflies you are likely to encounter. Instead, they hang almost vertically from bare branches. As a result, their slender bodies are hard for the eye to detect and also tend to confuse a camera’s autofocusing system. Most of the time I end up having to manually focus, as I did in this situation. Lastly, if you click on the image, you can see this dragonfly’s beautiful markings on the thorax (the “chest”) and the abdomen (the “tail”).

So, for me autumn has begun with the arrival of the Fine-lined Emerald dragonfly. Has autumn started for you yet or are you waiting for some additional personal signs of the season?

Fine-lined Emerald

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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