Saturday, July 23, 2011

Odonata Summer

Twelve Spotted Skimmer (Libellula pulchella) - male
on Prairie Blazing Star (Liatris pycnostachya)
(click on image for a larger view)

Its dragonfly and damselfly time on the prairie...they've been around for a few weeks but "now" they're coming on in real abundance and variety.  And about time!  These guys are good "mosquito hawks" and really help in that regard!  Besides they are really cool to watch.  

I like to follow the bloom here on the prairie pasture for good examples of flowers to use in my work...if I get out early enough there is less of a breeze and the chances of getting good photographs of things like the dragonflies improves.  I can often find them covered with a coating of dew and they're more at the mercy of the camera because they can't fly.

The Twelve Spotted Skimmer, pictured above, is a fairly common one all over the region but is still a very showy insect, especially when hanging out on a tall liatris above its prairie surroundings!

The Twelve Spotted Skimmer was here out at our place, but I found the Widow Skimmer shown below at an area preserve that had been recently acquired through the Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation. I may blog separartely on that in the Tallgrass Journal blog if I get a chance.

Widow Skimmer (Libellula luctuosa) - female
(click on image for a larger view)

 The Widow Skimmer was still covered with dew when I found her in a new addition to Waterman Prairie south of us.  One thing you'll find with odonates is the sexes are marked differently and often differing colors too...kinda like song birds often are.  Go ahead and click on each of these photos for a closeup of real cool insects!

For some reason my blogs blinked out "photo-wise" for 2-3 days or so but I have them back online gremlins!  :(  Sorry for the inconvenience if you happened to log on then, but we're up and running again!

Hope you're having a great summer!

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