Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Red Saddlebags

In February, of the few dragonflies we encountered in south Texas, we found Red Saddlebags most frequently. Often we saw males patrolling lake edges, like in the first photo taken at Llano Estero Grande State Park. These odes defend large territories, up to 3000 square feet (Paulson).
The second photo is of a male defending territory some distance from a local pond north of Edinburg. Paulsonwrites that Red Saddlebags are often found far from water. I was surprised to find both this and the last individual (a female) perched on or near the ground. Often saddlebags perch on treetops. The last photo is of a female, who, by the look of her abdomen tip, had just finished ovipositing. We found her on a dike some distance from an irrigation ditch at the Mission Nature and Bike Park.
Red Saddlebags are common in much of the eastern and southwestern United States. They range south to northern South America. Minnesota is about as far north as this species is found, and are usually rare here (see my previous post). Red Saddlebags may be migratory in the far North.

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