Photographs by Frank

7 August 2013

A Visit to Rye Pond

Filed under: Monadnock Region,Odontates,Summer,wildflowers — Tags: , , — Frank @ 12:13 PM

Yesterday afternoon, Joan and I put our kayaks in the water at Rye Pond (situated at the juncture of Stoddard, Antrim and Nelson).

This wetland is part of the Virginia Baker Natural Area of the Harris Center. With long frontage on Route 123, it is not the quietest of spots but it definitely worth repeated visits. We try to get there at least one or two times a year during ode season. The pond is quite shallow and contains a significant amount of floating bog that supports numerous pitcher plants and sundew. However, we were too late this year for the peak of the pitcher plant flowering.

There are also generally numerous odes and we were not disappointed this trip.

The most numerous species of ode present were the swamp spreadwings and the slaty skimmers. We saw numerous ovipositing pairs of both species. The spreadwings oviposit in tandem, with the male still grasping the female. The slaty skimmers oviposit with the male hovering near by while the female repeatedly dips her abdomen in the water. Both strategies are intended to  keep other males from usurping the already-mated female.

The real highlight of the afternoon were the numerous scarlet bluets out on the lily pads, well away from the shore. The large majority were male but I did see two (and manage to photograph one) female. This is the only place that I have seen this species.

I also saw one or two male orange bluets. The photo of this species I present is not perfect (the individual is facing away from the camera and I would have liked a bit more  depth of field). However, some times one just has to make do with less than perfect.

I show this photo because of the mass of mites on the abdomen. Mites (small, red ones) are fairly common on adult odes and are particularly abundant on odes (of many species) in Rye Pond. The large purplish mites on this individual are a first for me.

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