Saturday, July 16, 2011

Eastern Forktail

Along with about a half-dozen other Odonata species, I encountered male and female Eastern Forktails along a small pond in the Carleton College Arboretum on 5 June. Forktails get their name from tiny projections at the end of the males' abdomens (first photo). The abdomen tends to be black with a brilliant, neon-blue tip. Females are more variable. Sometimes they look like males, but usually they are orange and black-striped, as in the second photo.

Eastern Forktails are among the first damselflies of the year and fly until the first fall frosts. They are common near water and, like those in these photos, are usually found low in shoreline vegetation. They are found across eastern and central North America.

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