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Posts Tagged ‘Southern Spreadwing’

On Wednesday I travelled to Huntley Meadows Park with fellow dragonfly enthusiast Walter Sanford in search of some late-season species. A vernal pool in the woods, where we had seen them in the past, unfortunately has largely filled in with dense vegetation over the course of the last few years. The changed habitat appears to have caused out target species to disappear and we left that area empty-handed.

Fortunately, though, there are other areas in the park to explore, including a boardwalk that runs through a wetland areal, and we did manage to get some shots of other subjects. The day was starting to come to a close and we started down a gravel-covered trail heading for the parking lot. As I was scanning the vegetation on the side of the trail I suddenly caught sight of a spreadwing damselfly perching in a patch of greenbrier vines.

I was not sure what species it was, but Walter initially identified it as a female Southern Spreadwing damselfly (Lestes australis), but a closer examination of the photos of the dragonfly by an even more experienced dragonfly revealed that it is a female Slender Spreadwing (Lestes rectangularis). The damselfly was reasonably cooperative and perched in a couple of different places on the vines before it flew away.

Walter and I shoot with very different gear configurations and we often like to do complementary blog postings to show how two photographers shooting the same subject can produce somewhat different results. I was shooting with my Canon 50D and Tamron 150-600mm zoom lens, which has a minimum focusing distance of 8.9 feet (2.7 meters), so I had to be pretty far from the damselfly to get a shot and focused manually. I was also using a monopod for stability. Walter was shooting with a Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ300 superzoom camera and a full-sized flash and was able to get a bit closer to our subject and composed his shots from different angles.

Be sure to check out Walter’s blog posting today entitled “Slender Spreadwing damselfly (female)” to read his narrative and see his excellent photos of this beautiful female Slender Spreadwing damselfly.

 

Southern Spreadwing

Southern Spreadwing

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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You have to be awfully lucky to capture in-flight images of damselflies, but it helps a little when they are in tandem. I spotted these Southern Spreadwing damselflies (Lestes australis) last week at Huntley Meadows Park. The pair in the foreground were still hooked up after mating and appeared to be heading for the branch that you can see in order to lay eggs there.

It’s cool how you can see another damselfly in the background flying in from another direction. I noticed that some single damselflies, probably rival males, seemed to be trying to interfere with the couples when they were involved in ovipositing, which is why the male stays with the female until he is sure the job is done.

Southern Spreadwing

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

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These Southern Spreadwing damselflies (Lestes australis) were engaging in a little May Day mayhem this past Monday at Huntley Meadows Park. If I have this figured out right, the female, the one on the right in this image, is depositing her eggs in the vegetation after successfully mating with the male, who is still holding on to her.

Southern Spreadwing

 © Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

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It rained all day yesterday and today I felt the need for a burst of color, so I worked up a shot that I took in early May of a male Southern Spreadwing damselfly (Lestes australis). Somehow this beautiful little damselfly fell to the back of the queue during a period of time when I was taking so many photos that I barely had time to review and sort them all.

Three things really strike me about this damselfly. It is much biggest than most of the damselflies; it perches with its wings spread wide, unlike most damselflies; and, most importantly for me, it has very striking turquoise eyes that draw me right in.

Special thanks to my friend, Walter Sanford, who located the damselfly and worked with others to establish that this was a Southern Spreadwing and not the visually similar Sweetflag Spreadwing. Walter said that he was so familiar with this particular damselfly that he nicknamed him “Arty,” because of his propensity for perching in front of photogenic backgrounds.

Southern Spreadwing damselfly

Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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