Wednesday, June 15, 2011


Common Green Darner

The family Odonatidae or Odonata, commonly called Odes is the family of Dragonflies, Damselflies and Allies.  Yes, I have taken a nose-dive straight into this awesome family of insects.  This is a whole new realm of creatures to ID. Not as much is known about ID of these insects as there is of birds and often, females and immatures cannot be readily identified.  It doesn't help that the only Dragonfly book for Wisconsin is currently out of print and unavailable.  My method of beginning to learn these winged creatures is to photograph everything I see and post it to Facebook. Inevitably, someone knows what the Ode is called. In essence, by doing so, I'm slowly building my own field guide to Dragonflies and Damselflies of southern Wisconsin. Hopefully I will have a pretty decent set of photos by the end of the season.

Here is what I have found and photographed so far that I know the ID to:

Immature female Eastern Forktail
 There are several little orange Damselflies in a family called Bluets. This one is a Forktail. I have yet to figure out why...

Midland Clubtail
  Clubtails are some of the more awesome Dragonflies. There are two species around here that look similar. Midland Clubtail and the more awesomely named Cobra Clubtail.

Midland Clubtails
It's always fun to see a mating pair of Dragonflies attempting to fly. They do it amazingly well.

Female Eastern Forktail
It's interesting how these Damselflies change colors depending on age. This is a female. I haven't found a male yet.

I haven't had a solid ID on this one yet, but it is probably Hagen's Bluet. The blue ones are so vivid!

Some Bluets can't be identified unless they're adults. This little green one is probably an Eastern Forktail, but is what is called Tenereal, meaning that it is newly hatched and still developing and cannot be identified to species.

Twelve-spotted Skimmer
This is perhaps one of my favorite Dragonflies and is one of the more spectacular ones as it really stands out as it flies by.  I usually see these while canoeing along rivers and streams.

Ebony Jewelwing
By far one of the most beautiful of the Damselflies (is it a Damselfly?) Ebony Jewelwing is an inhabitant of the deep forest shadows. They're awesome to see in flight and just glow when they land. I love the beautiful metallic sheen.

Keep checking back for updates throughout the summer. I'm trying to post on this blog more often now that I have lots of new things to share.

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