Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Four-spotted Pennant

Last March, upon arriving at the Bailey Tract of the Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge, Erika and I immediately found a new dragonfly—this Four-spotted Skimmer. The male, above, was easily identified. The female, below, was more difficult, but the white stigma are good field marks. (Stigma are the spots at the leading, outer, edges of the wings. The stigma may signal identity to mates or rivals. It may also counteract wing vibrations and fractures.)

Four-spotted Skimmers are found from Arizona east along the Piedmont of the southeastern states. As in these photos, they often rest on exposed perches. They hunt for flying insects over ponds.  Paulson (2011) writes that this skimmer can occur in swarms. We found them to be common.

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