Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Olympia Odes

This first photo is of a dragonfly sunning itself in Olympia, Washington, last July. I had no trouble identifying this female Common Whitetail. A local dragonfly expert, however, expressed surprise at the extent of the wing banding. Usually the bands do not traverse the whole wing. See, for example, the middle photo of a Common Whitetail from Erika's garden. My expert thought that maybe the Olympia individual was half male and half female! He lamented my not taking specimens. Looking Internet images, however, leads me to conclude that female whitetail wings can be variable.
The bottom photo is of a dragonfly that gave me more identification trouble. This ode flew over Capitol Lake in Olympia. It looked superficially like the Common Whitetail, but the tips of the wings were not dark. Finally it occurred to me that this dragonfly was probably a female Eight-spotted Skimmer. This conclusion was kind of guilt by association, since many male Eight-spotteds flew along the pond shores. (Here is a link to photos of male Common Whitetails and Eight-spotted Skimmers.)

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