Photographs by Frank

28 July 2013

One Extraordinary July Afternoon in the Beaver Meadow

Filed under: Odontates,Other Insects,Summer — Tags: , , , — Frank @ 3:25 PM

Yesterday afternoon, I headed down to the wetland behind our house. I had not been down there for a couple of weeks… first it was too hot for me, more recently it has been too cool and gray for much ode activity.

Yesterday the conditions were ideal for both human and ode… the temperature was in the mid-70’s and it was mostly sunny.

On my way down through the woods, I noticed three or four very small (pinky nail-sized) light brown frogs… probably wood frogs. I did not get any photos, they were very skittish and the ode rig would not have provided enough magnification anyway.

A little further along I noticed another bit of movement on the forest floor… it took me about five minutes of searching, but I finally noticed the critter…a small, well camouflaged moth (see the first photo).

As I reached the beaver meadow, I saw a few early bright red male meadow hawks in the shrubs along the margin and a number of large dragonflies (darners) out over meadow. I did not stop to photograph the meadow hawks (there will be plenty more to come).

Rather headed out to the edges of the open water. As expected, there was much activity here. A number of different species of both dragonflies and damselflies going about their business, mostly feeding, but also mating and ovipositing.

As I was watching and photographing the damselflies among the grasses and sedges along a small spot of open water, I turned to my right and noticed the extraordinary scene shown in the second photograph. I don’t know the details of the story, but visually it is quite a story… the title might be “How Did the Darner Lose Its Abdomen?”! I am unsure if the exuvia in the background is part of the story or not.

When I stood up from photographing this scene, I noticed a bit of movement a few feet away. The source of this movement is shown in the two photos made less than a meter from the half-darner. It took me a while to sort out what was going on in my viewfinder… it is very rare to see one damselfly preying on another. I see dragonflies preying on damsels infrequently but regularly. I do not remember ever seeing one damselfly eating another before.

Along with these unusual events, I made photos of the more typical events… these was much mating and ovipositing going on!

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Wavy-lined Zanclognatha (Zanclognatha jacchusalis)
Wavy-lined Zanclognatha (Zanclognatha jacchusalis)
Half a Darner & Exuvia
Half a Darner & Exuvia
Eastern Forktail (female) with Prey
Eastern Forktail (female) with Prey
Eastern Forktail (female) with Prey
Eastern Forktail (female) with Prey
Sphagnum Sprite
Sphagnum Sprite
Spreadwing Pair Ovipositing
Spreadwing Pair Ovipositing
Spangled Skimmer (male)
Spangled Skimmer (male)
Spangled Skimmer (male)
Spangled Skimmer (male)
Frosted Whiteface (male)
Frosted Whiteface (male)
Dragonfly Silhouette
Dragonfly Silhouette
Sphagnum Sprite (male)
Sphagnum Sprite (male)
Spreadwing Pair Ovipositing
Spreadwing Pair Ovipositing
Frosted Whiteface (male)
Frosted Whiteface (male)
Spreadwing Pair Ovipositing
Spreadwing Pair Ovipositing
Swamp Spreadwing (male)
Swamp Spreadwing (male)
ID Needed
ID Needed

1 Comment

  1. Wonderful pics Frank. Sphagnum sprite is a new one for me. Sounds like you had a banner day. The One half dragonfly is amazing. Wonder if this happened after emergence

    K

    Comment by Kevin — 28 July 2013 @ 6:16 PM

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