Sunday, July 12, 2015

Eastern Pondhawk / Orange Bluet

On 20 March 1015 at Louisiana's Avery Island gardens, Erika and I saw our first dragonflies of the year—if you don’t count an unidentified dragonfly being eaten by a Great-tailed Grackle near Dallas and a dead Common Green Darner along the Texas coast. Our first Odonata was a the male Orange Bluet, a rather striking damselfly known by its orange10th abdominal segment and wide, orange thoracic stripe. Orange Bluets fly in Louisiana from February through November. They usually hunt in the late afternoon, causing them to be missed by midday censuses. The species is found across much of eastern North America, west across the Great Plains, and south into Mexico. I have seen them at various locations in Minnesota.
We also listed Eastern Pondhawks. Judging by the numbers we saw almost everywhere we subsequently visited in the South, pondhawk populations must be huge. They are found across eastern North American and south through Costa Rica. We have often seen this species in MinnesotaPaulson (2011) describes them as being “superabundant” and “voracious.” As with the bluet, Louisiana pondhawks fly from February through November. In Florida, we took the bottom photograph of a male Eastern Pondhawk hitching a ride on an alligator’s back.

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