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*BLUE DRAGONFLY*

Van Coleman

Ashland, United States

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BLUE DRAGONFLY
(Blue Dasher, Pachydiplax longipennis)
Also Known as:
(A) Swift Long-winged Skimmer
(B) Blue Pirate
THIS PHOTO IS BEST VIEWED LARGE.



“BLUE DRAGONFLY” has been FEATURED in the group APPALACHIAN ARTISTS




*”BLUE DRAGONFLY" has been FEATURED in the group FOCUS AND LIGHTING*



I captured this gorgeous blue dragonfly at the park the other day, just as he stopped long enough for me to take his picture along the water’s edge in my local park! He was amongst several other dragonflies that were skimming amongst the lilies and lily pads on top of the water. Blue Dashers (Blue Dragonflies) rarely sit in one spot for long, and are the only Nearctic species in the genus. The males are constantly patrolling their territory, dashing out from their perch to challenge other dragonflies or large insects flying nearby, and looking for females with which to mate.

A blue dragonfly with a black tip to the abdomen, and a black-and-yellow-striped thorax underneath often describes the male blue dasher, shown here. Females are recognized by the narrow yellow parallel stripes on the abdomen. Both sexes have an amber patch at the base of each hindwing. Males develop a sky-blue (or Carolina-blue) abdomen when they approach maturity. California specimens turn blue not just over the abdomen (hiding the dark tip), but the thorax as well, and often have no amber on the wings at all.

Dragonflies have excellent eyesight. Their compound eyes have up to 30,000 facets, each of which is a separate light-sensing organ or ommatidium, arranged to give nearly a 360° field of vision, important for taking prey on the wing. Odonates are completely harmless – they do not sting or bite. Indeed, they are beneficial in the same respect spiders and other predators are beneficial – they keep the burgeoning insect population in check. Many of these species prey on each other; I often see dragonflies with damsels in their clutches.

Dragonflies are among the most ancient of living creatures! Fossil records, clearly recognizable as the ancestors of our present day odonates, go back to Carboniferous times which means that the insects were flying more than 300 million years ago, predating dinosaurs by over 100 million years and birds by some 150 million.
Much larger dragonfly species existed in the distant past than occur on earth today. The largest, found as a fossil, is an extinct Protodonata named Meganeura monyi from the Permian period, with a wingspan of 70-75 cm (27.5-29.5 in). This compares to 19 cm (7.5 in) for the largest modern species of odonates, the Hawaiian endemic dragonfly, Anax strenuus. The smallest modern species recorded is the libellulid dragonfly, Nannophya pygmaea from east Asia with a wingspan of only 20 mm, or about ¾ of an inch.


Dragonflies are the world’s fastest insects and, although estimates of their speed vary wildly, most credible authorities say they are capable of reaching speeds of between 30 and 60 km/h (19 to 38 mph). A study showed that dragonflies can travel as much as 85 miles in a single day!

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PHOTO CAPTURED WITH MY CANON EOS 40D CAMERA.

Artwork Comments

  • Richard Murch
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