Sunday, July 24, 2016

Spot-winged Glider

On 15 July 2016, Erika and I walked in the Carleton College arboretum. We are quite a sight. Erika gets further and further ahead, as I squeak at birds and try to focus my camera on dragonflies. This situation is good, because she can spot dragonflies for me.

On this day, Erika stopped and pointed, “Come quick, there is a dragonfly hanging in the grass on the side of the path.” When I finally saw the dragonfly, I knew it was different. Look at the red eyes and the robust abdomen. I started at the baskettails, but quickly honed in on gliders. I have seen Wandering Gliders in the arboretum. But this glider did not look quite right. For one thing, its sides are brownish, not yellow.This photo proves that Spot-winged Gliders’ wing spots are not always visible. They adorn the base of the hind wings. I tried to maneuver to get a back-side view, but the glider quickly flew.

Spot-winged Gliders are found from Canada to Argentina.  In Minnesota, they are migratory. They winter in the south and appear here in summer. The larvae develop in only five weeks, before departing to warmer climates (Mead). Our record is the first for Dakota County (and a first for us, for that matter). A couple of records do exist from next-door Rice County.

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