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Its colors are not quite as ostentatious as those of the Migrant Hawker dragonfly that I featured yesterday, but the bright red bodies of what I believe are Common Darter dragonflies (Sympetrum striolatum) made them equally hard to miss at the botanical garden in Brussels, Belgium. The colors of these beautiful little dragonflies remind me of those of the Autumn Meadowhawk (Sympetrum vicinum), a species that I see quite often in my home area of Northern Virginia and the shared Latin genus name of Sympetrum indicates their relationship.

I was able to photograph male Common Darters perched in several different spots and I particularly like the way that the fiery red of their bodies contrasts with the cooler green of the backgrounds.

Common Darter

Common Darter

Common Darter

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

 

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There is a whole family of damselflies called bluets that all look similar and the pattern of the males is generally some combination of black and blue (though there is one family member called an Orange Blue, which sure sounds like an oxymoron to me). On Saturday as I was exploring Pohick Creek in Springfield, Virginia, I came across two damselflies in tandem position that looked to be bluets. I suspect that they had just mated and were getting ready to deposit the eggs.

I managed to get a decent angle for a shot that allowed most of their bodies to be in focus and figured that identification would be simple. I was wrong. I went back and forth over a series of images and drawings in two guidebooks before deciding that they were probably Stream Bluets (Enallagma exsulans). The habitat was right and the markings seemed to be almost right, but I waffled for a long time.

Am I correct in my identification? I’m still not really confident, but so far one person has agreed with me in a Facebook group in which I posted the photo. The creative side of me, though, is really happy with the image, irrespective of the correctness of my identification.

Stream Bluet

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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