Friday, October 16, 2015

Great Blue Skimmer

On 4 April, along the Palm Hammock Trail of the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge, a hiker walking out of the hammock reported seeing lots of big dragonflies. Erika and I discovered many Great Blue Skimmers. The whole scene seemed right out of the Ordovician, millions of years ago.

Great Blue Skimmers inhabit most of eastern North America, migrating north as far as Ontario and Massachusetts. This species, with a total length of about 60 mm, is one the the largest skimmers. As these dragonflies get older, they aquaire a blueish color that accounts for their name. The species can be confused with other dragonflies, but the wing pattern and white face are good field marks. Great Blue Skimmers are common near swampy ponds, lakes, and forest streams (Odonata Central).

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