Currently viewing the category: "Dragonflies and Damselflies"
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Re-sending the damselfly
Location: Parksville, Vancouver Island
November 28, 2011 5:26 pm
Hi Bugman,
I will do. All subjects were taken mid-to-late spring 2009, all some time in the afternoon to evening, around the 3-6 time frame. Naturally, all were taken on bright, clear days; mild climate, light breezes. All were on the same rocky beach.
So far as unusual conditions/behaviours go, the most remarkable thing was the lack of it. I mentioned before that the skipper posed for me; in fact, it alighted in the middle of a path of overgrown grass and bramble (almost to my chest), and even amidst much crashing on my part, stayed almost perfectly still. All photos were taken with barely any zooming in; they were very amiable towards my getting the camera inches from their faces. The spiderlings I found under a flat stone on a large log lying horizontally on the beach; I found the jumper on the same log.
The photo I’m attaching is of the same damselfly I sent earlier. Here it was on its first perch. It flew off once and relocated on a log before deciding that I wasn’t a threat.
Signature: Geoff


Hi again Geoff,
Thanks for providing all of that additional information regarding the Arctic Skipper and the Zebra Jumper.

Damselfly eats Sand Flea


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Damselfly and a… Skipper?
Location: Parksville, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada
November 27, 2011 4:05 am
Hi Bugman! Just wanted to let you know how much I love your site. I was reading your NRAs and was thoroughly amused by how little patience people have. Why, I didn’t get a response from my inquiry 4 years ago, and I’ve never ranted about it! Unfortunately, I’ve lost the pictures, but they were small, grey larvae with casings that were stuck to the wall. The casings were made of… lint and dust, if you can believe that. Could they have been resourceful bagworm larvae that found novel building materials?

Arctic Skipper

The pictures I’m posting are ones that I took spring/summer 2009, on the eastern coast of Vancouver Island, in Parksville, B.C. The first is a damselfly (a blue?) I found casually devouring a sand flea. It was quite confident, and only departed one perch before deciding I could watch it finish its meal. The next two are of a Lepidopteran, which I’d really like an identification of. From its appearance and its flight pattern, I thought that it might be a skipper. The pictures really are as close as you might think; it let me get almost up to its face, and even graced me a few lovely poses before darting off. The photos are just a tiny bit blurry; my camera’s not good with closeups. If you’d like, I have more pictures to send!
Signature: Geoff

Arctic Skipper

Hi Geoff,
We have so many things to address in your letter.  First, we are happy to hear you are not holding a grudge regarding an unanswered email from four years ago, and even though there is not photo, we believe you are describing Case Bearing Moth Larvae, common insects found in homes.  We are very excited about your photos, as we believe they are the first submissions we have ever posted of an Arctic Skipper, Carterocephalus palaemon, which we identified in Jeffrey Glassberg’s excellent book Butterflies Through Binoculars The West where it is noted they are:  “marked rather like a miniature fritillary.”  BugGuide lists the range as:  “Central Alaska south to central California, south in the Rocky Mountains to northwest Wyoming, east across the Great Lakes states to New York and New England. Eurasia” and the habitat as:  “Glades and openings in heavily forested woods, moist meadows, and streamsides.”  We cannot determine the species identity of your Damselfly, but it makes a nice addition to our Food Chain tag.

Damselfly eats Sand Flea

Hi Bugman!
Thanks for your quick reply. It pleases me greatly that I was able to provide something new to your site.
I’m attaching 3 more pictures: the first is a full profile shot of the damselfly (hopefully, it might help with the identification); the second one is a close up of a cluster of spiderlings, probably of Argiope aurantia? The final one is of a jumping spider. Not technically bugs (or even insects!), but I thought I might send it in. All pictures were taken the same place as the skipper, along a rocky beach.
By the way, regarding the proposed case bearing moths, it was in Hong Kong that they were found (my friend took those original photos).

please just one species per submission.  Also, could you use the standard form?
I wreaks havoc with our system to continue a dialog through email if that dialog requires a new posting.  We like to keep each post as a unique species.
P.S.  Case bearing moth larvae are found worldwide

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Large dragonflies
Location: Northern Saskatchewan, Canada
November 26, 2011 11:15 am
Hey, bugman! I’ve noticed a distinct deficit in dragon-fly related request so I thought I’d send in this big fellow. I live in northern Saskatchewan, Canada and these huge guys are incredibly common in the swampy north. I am currently further up south and I haven’t been seeing too much of them. They are almost always blue in coloration, although I have noticed a very occasional greenish variation on the same species (they are identical lest the color). They boom in the summer months (beginning in June and fading out by August), and almost blacken the sky during years with high mosquito populations. I’ve noticed that you do not get many requests from Canada and I am certain that we get some very strange insects in the north of Saskatchewan which may have never been called to your attention before. Anyhow, an ID on this fellow would be lovely, thanks!
Signature: Grace P

Canada Darner, perhaps

Hi Grace,
Thanks for your submission.  We believe the pictured individual is a male Variegated Meadowhawk,
Sympetrum corruptum, and since the species is sexually dimorphic, the color variations you describe might be explained by the sex of the individual.  Also, it is possible that when mosquitoes are abundant, more than one species of Dragonfly may be enjoying the bounty.  You can see some of the species variations on BugGuide.

Thanks guys, this is very interesting. I have one final question, however! The variegated meadowhawks pictured on bugguide are most certainly present in the same ecosystem as the blue fellow that I sent in, but I have noted that they are considerably smaller. They are very similar to the larger blue meadowhawks in terms of the way that their anatomy is set up but they are perhaps two inches in length, whereas the blue/green variation meadowhawk seems to peak at three and a half or four inches in length. Is it possible that these different coloration/sizes could denote different stages in the development of the same species, or would this mean that they are different all together? If it were summer I would have no problem taking pictures to better illustrate this, but alas it is November and twenty-six below. What is your opinion on this matter? Thanks!

Possible Correction
Hi again Grace,
We have to confess that we often do not feel confident with Dragonfly identifications.  We would suggest posting a comment to this posting to see if a correction comes in sometime in the future.  Dragonflies do undergo a teneral or immature winged stage, but they change color as they mature.  They do not change size.  There is often individual variation in the size of adults within a species as well.  Also, we did not receive an image of a blue Dragonfly in your original email, only the brick red image that we posted.  Perhaps the species you have described are Darners in the family Aeshnidae (see BugGuide), which includes the Canadian Darner,
Aeshna canadensis (see BugGuide).  The individual in your photo seems more reddish, but the markings do look quite similar to the Canada Darner, especially this image on BugGuide.

Hello, and thanks for the quick response again! I realize now that the image does not make the coloration abundantly clear; what appears to be red (due to the lighting) is more of a soft brown in reality and there is a pattern of blue, as well. After looking around a bit, you are indeed correct in identifying this fellow as a Canadian Darner. The coloration is exactly the same and the pattern is spot-on. I had also noted a small black mark at the front of each wing which my dragonfly also has. Also, his eyes were a lovely green which seems to be characteristic of Canadian Darners. Thank you very much, now I know!

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Dragonflies (Anax junius)
Location: Florida
November 20, 2011 6:00 pm
We’ve had lots of these Common Green Darners (Anax Junius) in our yard this summer and fall. Today I saw two pairs of Green Darners mating, flying in the tandem position. Both pairs would periodically land on the ground, and the female would immediately push the end segment of her abdomen down to the ground. I know dragonflies lay their eggs in water, so she was not laying eggs though it might have looked that way. I’m very curious about her behavior–do you know what she was doing?
Thanks again for this great site!
Signature: Karen in FL

Green Darners Mating

Hi Karen,
Thanks so much for sending us your excellent images of Green Darners mating to include in our archive.  We do not know what the activity you describe means.  You are correct that Dragonflies lay eggs in water, not on the ground.  Perhaps someone with knowledge of this behavior will write in with an explanation.

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CA dragonfly?
Location: Irvine CA
October 23, 2011 8:52 pm
Hi Bugman, I am a Mainer visiting CA. Photographed this dragonfly at San Joaquin NWR in Irvine CA. What is it?
Signature: Steve

Variegated Meadowhawk

Hi Steve,
Because we knew we had identified this species once before despite not remembering its name, we needed to comb through our archives to locate the Variegated Meadowhawk.  You can also see many marvelous images of the Variegated Meadowhawk,
Sympetrum corruptum, on BugGuide.

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HUGE Dragonfly
Location: Aspen Hill, Maryland
September 26, 2011 12:37 am
Just curious what this fella is. I’m sure there is lineage here, but this is a very first for me seeing this giant dragonfly. This picture was taken last night (9/24) at about midnight, and he or she was bouncing all over the arbor where I was sitting. Very noisy (sounded like tissue paper being crumpled) and erratic.
Signature: Patti of Maryland

Green Darner

Hi Patti,
Your Dragonfly is a Green Darner,
Anax junius.  We believe that based on the description posted to BugGuide, it is a male.  Green Darners are known to migrate south in the fall.

Mr. Marlos:
Thank you so much for your identification.  I did some brief photo research last night and found plenty of close matches, but none exactly right.  Searching now with “anax junius” I see plenty of matches for my backyard boy.  I’ve lived on this little quarter acre lot all my life, but this is my first sighting of this particular dragon fly.
I think I was taken aback by the eye marking between the eyes.  After looking closely at it, I quickly realized that the marking was simply that – a marking and not an eye, but the primitive mind strikes first and I found myself hissing like a superstitious old woman from the Massachusetts Colony, “ahh, ’tis a cyclops, he is!”
Honestly, I try to approach insects and other buggy animals as truly amazing and alien creatures who arose from the same primordial soup as I, but when a spider rappels down onto me while I’m in the shower, it will always end with unnecessary carnage.
Anyway, thanks again!

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination