Friday, October 23, 2015

Rambur’s Forktail

Rambur’s Forktails were the only dragonflies we saw during our Charleston, South Carolina, visit. They flew about the edge of the Ashley River amongst the cattails. We saw this species in several previous places during our road trip, but I saved an account of them for this post. I took all these photos at the Magnolia Plantation Gardens.
Jules Rambur (1801-1870) was a French entomologist. The forktail that bears his name is polymorphic. These photographs show a male, with its bright greenish thorax and dorsally dark abdomen with terminal blue bands (although the last segment is incompletely blue).  The second photo is an orange, immature female. The third forktail is less certainly identified, except through its association with the other two, and is probably an olive-hued female. A third morph of females look like males.
In the eastern and southern United States, Rambur’s Forktails are widespread, often along the coastal plains. They are also found in the southwest. They breed from Mexico south to Chile, in the Antilles, and in Hawaii. They fly all year in Florida, and most of the year elsewhere, where weather permits. They like most wetland habitats (Bug Guide). These forktails are conspicuous and aggressive. Males need to take heed—females often consume them if mating attempts are unsuccessful (Beaton 2007).

1 comment: