Dragonflies and damselflies make good targets in the dog days of summer. They're readily available in the yard around our house, so I don't need to leave the air conditioning for long. I'm still learning to identify the common species in the area so I put together this pictorial guide. It shows full views to help easily identify the species.
Dragonfly mating is unusual by human standards ;-) The Female is green and the male is blue. This is from 2016 in our neighborhood with the big lens and D810A camera.
The Eastern Pondhawks are very common in our neighborhood. The green females are easy to identify. Green Darners, also green obviously, are much bigger. See below.
Very large and colorful dragonflies. I thought they were mating, and it may be fair to say they are... But really these dragonflies "ovipositing" (laying eggs). My buddy Gil advises: Photo shows Common Green Darner. Anax junius. The bluer one is the male. He is holding the female in tandem linkage, basically guarding her from other males. She is depositing eggs. Not all dragonflies will oviposit while in tandem linkage but this is one species that does
Male Blue Dasher dragonfly, Pachydiplax longipennis. I shot this guy with the big lens while I was chasing the Black-bellied Whistling-ducks (seen at the link). The males have the blue-green (cyan) colored eyes as shown here. The females have brown/reddish eyes as shown in the picture below. BugGuide link here. They are relatively small.
This is from the backyard, May 2015. If you look carefully you can see its prey which I suspect (and hope) to be one of that big nasty mosquitoes we're seeing after all the rains. Thanks again to Gil who provided the ID: This is a female-type skimmer, family Libellulidae. There are two species in your area that are almost identical: Golden-winged and Needham's Skimmers. They are told apart by the markings on the sides of the thorax. I can see just enough of that in your photo to suspect this is a female or immature male Needham's Skimmer (Libellula needhami). After viewing the image below: Based on the lateral view, it is confirmed: Needham's Skimmer. Image Details: Nikon D750 Camera, 200mm f4 macro lens aperture priority f8, 1/1600s, auto-ISO 1000, matrix metering. I used the fine resolution JPEG out of the camera, vivid setting, plus HDR toning in Photoshop at default settings, but with a fade to just saturation.
Check out the white hair on this guy (it's a male)! There was a little back-light thing going on with this images. Nikon D810A, f5.6, 1/1000s, ISO 400, -1 spot metered with the 500 just about as close as I could get! Posted 8/1/2016. Bugguide.net link here. Needham's and Golden-winged skimmers are almost identical, unfortunately for those of us trying to make IDs! This was originally ID'd, incorrectly, as a Golden-winged. Greg Lasley's excellent guide to differentiating Needham's & Golden-winged skimmers is at this link.
Unidentified Skimmer. This time caught in direct sunlight. Unfortunately I was wrestling with my camera while trying to shoot this guy and only got one usable picture of this pose. Needham's or Golden-winged?
For some reason these ladies seem to be very camera shy! Nikon D810A camera and 200mm f4 lens at f8, 1/250s, ISO 500.
This is a pretty good side/back view of a male Whitetail. The camera angle allowed me to get most of the fly in focus. Whitetails are plentiful in our front yard this year (2015), where we have a bumper crop of both dragonflies and mosquitoes. Nikon D810A camera, 200mm f4 lens, 1/500s at f11, ISO 1600.
September 2016, back yard. This one was very cooperative in the early morning light. How about all that hair? Back yard 9/11/2016. Here's a link to the bugguide ID (a different shot of same bug). Tramea lacerata. Black Saddlebags. They are not as dark when immature. The yellow spots on the top of segment 7 (RL: on Bugguide shot of this guy) separates this from Red or Carolina.
From 6/13/20 in the hood. It's maddening to try to catch dragonflies in flight; managed to get this in decent focus. It wasn't interested in stopping for me. Carolina ID is iffy as Black Saddlebags is very close.
Gil advises: Widow Skimmer (Libellula luctuosa), either a female or an immature male. The pattern of darkness on the wing is distinctive in this species. It is a close relative to, and in the same genus as, your Needham's Skimmer.
June 2020 backyard
June 2020, backyard
The Woodlands, 20190512. Teneral means recently molted and not having final colors.
June 2020 from HP.
The males are more of an orange color, versus yellow for the females. July 2020.
May 2020, HP. These are very small dragonflies, and can be confused with a large wasp with their coloring.
2019 - Got himself some brunch
May 2019 from the Bear Branch area. This tandem pair shows the male on top and in better focus; with the female being more green.
by Dick Locke. All Rights Reserved.
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