Sunday, July 6, 2008

Early dragons.

I went to the nearby bog, looking for the bright red slime mold that grows on the bark mulch in summer. No luck, but there were other bright red things to be seen. I spent a few minutes at the pond before I had to leave, and realized that I would have done better to spend the whole time there -- and with a tripod. The early dragonfly fauna is in full dragonflight.

Cardinal Meadowhawk, Sympetrum illotum, male.

This is a male of the Cardinal Meadowhawk, Sympetrum illotum. There are about 10 Sympetrum spp. in BC plus the Yukon. This species flies most frequently in June and July, which is early for this genus (Cannings, 2002).

Cardinal Meadowhawk again. Note the posture of the wings, and reddish legs.

Common Whitetail, Libellula lydia, male.

This is a male of the Common Whitetail, Libellula lydia. Females are very different, in both body colour and wing pattern. Here this species flies from early May to late September. According to Cannings (2002), it "Prefers muddy conditions and tolerates pools trampled by livestock." Good to know something does.

Four-spotted Skimmer, Libellula quadrimaculata, male.

Another male, of the Four-spotted Skimmer, Libellula quadrimaculata. It starts flying in late April, which makes it one of the earliest dragonflies. It is common around acidic water, so not unexpected in the bog.

Three males of three species, fighting over the prime perch.

And, of course, plain old dragons, also seen today.

Perhaps not so plain.

Lantern Festival, Richmond, BC.

Reference: Cannings, R.A. 2002. Introducing the Dragonflies of British Columbia and the Yukon. Royal British Columbia Museum. 96 pp.

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