Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Scarlet Skimmer

During one of our unsuccessful searches last March for the Gray Kingbird in the Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge, I spied this red skimmer. Erika was some distance ahead of me, as is usual, due to my photographing miscellaneous birds and odes. “Better come back here and look at this one,” I called. “Gosh, that’s a beautiful dragonfly,” replied Erika.

Scarlet Skimmers are North America’s only introduced odonate.  In the Lower 48 States, they are only found in south Florida. They are native and widespread in southern Asia, from the Middle East to China and Japan, through the Philippines and northern Australia. The species was first discovered in Florida in the 1970s, and has since been found in Cuba, Jamaica, Hispaniola. Puerto Rico, and Hawaii. I do not know who introduced them to the New World, nor do I know why. The larvae, however, are eaten in parts of China (Wikipedia). BugGuide.com, however, claims the introductions were accidental.

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