What if every mirror had a dragonfly in it?

cellophane wings 1

What if after years in the mud we graduated not to swimming but to flight?

red dragon

What if the ground were as translucent as the water, & every step brought us closer to the sky?

Dave Bonta (bio) crowd-sources his problems by following his gut, which he shares with 100 trillion of his closest microbial friends — a close-knit, symbiotic community comprising several thousand species of bacteria, fungi, and protozoa. In a similarly collaborative fashion, all of Dave’s writing is available for reuse and creative remix under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License. For attribution in printed material, his name (Dave Bonta) will suffice, but for web use, please link back to the original. Contact him for permission to waive the “share alike” provision (e.g. for use in a conventionally copyrighted work).

17 Replies to “Dragonflies”

  1. Lovely! You showed great restraint in not making this much longer – there is so much about dragonflies that astounds.

  2. Thanks for the kind words, y’all.

    We have tentative i.d.s now for the second two, on their respective Flickr pages (click the photos). My mother identified the second from a field guide: Calico pennant or elisa skimmer (Celithemis elisa), and that’s pretty certain. The cellophane-winged one gave us quite a bit more trouble, but with the help of several online guides in addition to the books, I feel reasonably sure it’s a female or immature autumn meadowhawk (Sympetrum vicinum). I don’t think my mom, ever the cautious naturalist, is quite as ready as I am to go with that i.d., though. We’d welcome other suggestions.

  3. OMG! I’m so embarrassed. I didn’t realize you were looking to ID the critters.

    Both of your IDs are correct. The first is a female and the second is a male. My bad for not realizing this was a quiz!

    1. Oh, it wasn’t. I didn’t mean to give that impression. But I do generally like to give species names over at Flickr (if not always in Latin).

      Good to know you’re a dragonfly expert! I could’ve asked Bev Wigney, but I think she’s in the middle of moving right now.

  4. The first two shots are drop-dead gorgeous. I’ve never seen one hold a blade of grass as the one in the second shot is doing. It’s almost as if it’s using its full weight and force to draw the blade back so that, when it lets the blade go, the blade hits the cameraman in the eye. Amazing wings on that one.

    1. Thanks. Yes, it was a wonder, and it fluttered in a very delicate manner when it flew, rather more like a damselfly than a dragonfly. It let me get very close twice; here’s the dorsal view.

      A fun fact about this species is that it can change color with the temperature, “the male’s red coloration giving way to orange, then brown, as temperatures drop,” according to Stephen Cresswell.

  5. I like the whimsy of this. I have some decent dragonfly shots but I haven’t made much of an effort to learn more about my subjects. I named the pond where I go to sit and meditate Snake Doctor Pond because of the proliferation of dragonflies there. Calico pennant, elisa skimmer–what great names.

    1. Dragonflies, like butterflies, often have very cool common names — a reward for the effort of identifying them.

      I’m going to guess that dragonflies are referred to colloquially as snake doctors in the Georgia mountains? That’s so Southern. :)

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