Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Western Pondhawk

Male (top photo) and female (bottom photo) Western Pondhawks flitted about the shoreline of Olympia’s Capitol Lake during my sickbed escape on 27 July 2919. This species is similar to the Eastern Pondhawk, but have a shorter, stockier abdomen with dark, not white, terminal appendages. Western Pondhawks are more likely to perch on the ground than other pondhawks. As their name implies, Western Pondhawks replace Eastern Pondhawks, occupying southwestern British Colombia, the Western United States, and parts of Mexico. Where their ranges overlap in the Southwest and in the southern Great Plains, hybrid swarms exist—which probably indicates these two species should be merged (Paulson 2009). Pondhawks are voracious predators of other odonates. Unlike their eastern cousins, Western Pondhawks prefer damselflies to dragonflies. The male in the upper photo is consuming a damselfly that appears to be a Tule Bluet.

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