Monday, October 15, 2007

Orange Skimmer Dragonfly

After hundreds of tries, I've finally captured a photo of a dragonfly, and I didn't have a tripod! That may not seem like a big deal to some, but I've worked on this for months, and the photos were always blurry. This Orange Skimmer (Libellula saturata) must have been tired as it stayed on the tip of an Agave americana long enough for me to rush in and get my camera, aim, and shoot. When I tried to move around to get a shot of its eyes, it finally flew away.

I was surprised to see this dragonfly in my garden as they are usually found near ponds or streams. They are the most common dragonfly in Arizona, and they are also called Flame Skinners. The one pictured is a male. The females have less orange coloration and the wings are clearer in color.

While checking my accuracy on its identity, I learned a few things about dragonflies:

  • The front and back wings of a dragonfly move in opposite directions, giving them unparalleled maneuverability

  • They are one of the fastest flying insects

  • The reason they hang around water is that when the eggs hatch, the nymphs will eat plants and even fish and tadpoles

  • They have territories, and will fiercely defend them

1 comment:

kate said...

That is a cool photograph. It is so clear. I had no idea that dragonflies were territorial or that their back and front wings moved in opposite directions.

Have a great week...