Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Big Dragonfly Day Part 2

This post is the second of four reporting on Scott King’s and my dragonfly expedition to nearby Washington County, Minnesota, on 2 June 2015. These photos were taken at the Warner Nature Center, which I described in Part One of this series.
The first two photographs are of new species for me. The first is a Dusky Clubtail; the second, a Calico Pennant. Dusky Clubtails often perch on or near the ground. Their best field-marks are spines on their cerci (the terminal extensions off the abdomen). The Calico Pennant is a strikingly beautiful species for which I’ve been searching for several years. This species bears a superficial resemblance to Halloween Pennants, but the yellow spots on the females, like on this photo, and the wing spots that do not cross the whole wings are diagnostic. Although we found this individual in a dry field, Calico Pennants are often found near water.
The last two photos are of species I have seen previously in Erika’s garden.  Both are baskettails, the first a Common, the second a Spiny. If you greatly enlarge your view of the last dragonfly, you might notice the tiny spine off its cerci, from which the Spiny Baskettail derives its name. Notice also the more extensive black spots on the hind wings of the Common Baskettail. These dragonflies are called baskettails because they carry their eggs on the underside of their abdomens. This ball of eggs is attached to an aquatic plant. The ball unravels, releasing up to a 1000 eggs (Mead 2009).

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