Currently viewing the category: "Dragonflies and Damselflies"
What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Possibly California darner?
June 24, 2010
Took this photo 22 June, late morning, in my backyard near Edmonds, WA. Large dragonfly was clinging to unripe blueberries for quite awhile, cooperated as I took several photos (have attached the best one). After I stepped away it suddenly took off and I enjoyed watching for several minutes as it looped and dove in roughly repeated patterns around that end of yard, many times passing within a foot or so of me. It made passes everytime it saw an insect, large or small (while I cheered — I have an organic garden and need all the help I can get), altho I never saw it catch anything. Perhaps some were too small for me to see. It seems similar to pictures I’ve seen of dragonflies in the Darner family…I looked in Bug Guide and California darner (Rhionaeschna californ ica) was the closest, with brownish eyes, but would like confirmation, if possible. I recently sent the probable ID on the sea cucumber (echinoderm). It was nice to be helping instead of asking, for a change! Love your site and bugID service, have turned my NatureGeek friends on to it!
Sincerely, Dee
Edmonds, Washington State

California Darner

Hi Dee,
Thanks for the Sea Cucumber assistance.  We believe you are correct that this lovely dragonfly is a California Darner, Rhionaeschna californica, based on images posted to BugGuide.  Thank you for your very informational letter.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Ebony Jewelwing Damselfly
June 24, 2010
Hi Daniel, I ran across this handsome fellow beside a country road about three weeks ago. I know you have several photos of these already on your website. When I was a kid everyone in this area called them “snake doctors” (I always walked very wary when I saw one for fear a snake was around) They are so beautiful I wanted to share it, but with all of the images you have already you may not want to use the webspace. It appears this is a male since he doesn’t have a white spot on his wing tips. Thanks and have a wonderful day..
North Middle Tennessee

Ebony Jewelwing

Hi again Richard,
What a lovely photo of a lovely Ebony Jewelwing.  We saw several in Mill Creek Park during our recent visit to our hometown in Ohio.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Found this down by the River
June 14, 2010
Would love to know what this is, found by a river in New Brunswick Canada. It’s hard to tell the size from a photo but it’s much bigger than a quarter. It was found dead and I moved it by it’s leg to take a picture.
To Sara
New Brunswick Canada

Exuvia of a Dragonhunter

Hi Sara,
This is the exuvia or cast off larval skin of a Dragonfly known as the Dragonhunter, Hagenius brevistylus.  The larvae of Dragonflies are aquatic.  When they are ready to metamorphose into adults, they crawl onto land and split their exoskeleton for the final time.  The winged adult emerges, and after its wings have dried and hardened, it will fly away.  We will be postdating your letter so that it goes live later in the week so that our site can maintain daily updates while we are out of the office.

Exuvia of a Dragonhunter

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

June 9, 2010
Hi I live in Perthshire, Scotland and have just found this “thing” in my garden. The casing isnt like a chrysalis its too smooth and very very narrow – the colours are black with yellow stripes. Any Ideas??
Perthshire, Scotland

Thing from Scotland

Hi Kay,
Please provide more information.  Where was this thing found?  Underground?  Inside a stump?  On a branch? Underwater?  Perhaps someone with recognize this thing and write in to us.

The photo of the Mystery bug in Scotland looks like the dried up tail of some kind of flying insect, like a damselfly, dragonfly or even like a grasshopper. The post didn’t seem to have any responses so I just wanted to add my thoughts.
Daniel Fagan

Update from Karl
June 14, 2010
Hi Daniel and Kay:
I was initially unconvinced that this was actually an animate object, but it looks like it could be the abdomen of a female Golden-ringed Dragonfly (Cordulegaster boltonii). It looks very similar and the species does occur in Scotland. I haven’t checked out all of the possibilities, but this looks pretty close to me. Here is another example: Regards.  Karl

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

photo fan
June 10, 2010
Hello fellow bugnuts!
Many of the photos you post are positively breathtaking. Have you ever considering posting a section on hints for those of us with a bug-photo addiction?
Just for fun, I’m including a shot of a male sedge sprite damselfy and a rose chafer doing a “handstand”.
Thanks so much for your wonderful site!
Don D, St. Augusta, MN
Central MN

Sedge Sprite Damselfly

Dear Don,
Thanks for sending your photo of a Sedge Sprite Damselfly, Nehalennia irene.  BugGuide has quite a few nice examples of this Northern species.  We agree that many of the photos that are submitted to our site are gorgeous, including your own.  Since we teach photography, and What’s That Bug? is a nice retreat from the demands of our day job, we try not to critique the images submitted by our readership too severely, but trust us when we tell you that many of the images that cross our path are not pretty pictures.  Advances in digital camera technology make it easy for amateur photographers and insect enthusiasts to take wonderful photographs, though like your own photo, we often take creative license with cropping, and though your image did not require any additional post production manipulation, we also adjust levels in photoshop to both color correct and to improve density.  We also sharpen blurry images, and again, this was not required with your photograph.  Many photographs do not need cropping, but in the interest of maximizing the size of the insect subject while keeping the file at a manageable size for web posting, we crop tightly to the subject.  Since insects cannot be posed very effectively, there is much luck involved with capturing the perfect balance of camera position, perspective of insect, and lighting.  For the most part, soft subdued lighting like the lighting in your Sedge Sprite photo is ideal.  Open shade or overcast days provide the requisite soft lighting.  Carefully focusing the camera is critical, and with the autofocus feature, this generally involved either centering the subject in the frame, or keeping the finger depressed halfway on the shutter button after the autofocus, and then recomposing the photo before completely depressing the shutter button.  Shallow depth of field like that of your photo keeps the subject sharp and in focus while the background is blurry.  This helps to differentiate the subject from the background, and you achieve this shallow depth of field through the selection of a large aperture, generally 5.6 or greater.  The macro feature on some cameras also contributes to the shallow depth of field.  Selecting a faster shutter speed, like 125 or faster, will keep the insect subject sharp by preventing movement of both the subject and the camera.  For identification purposes, we would encourage our readership to keep away from angles that are too creative, and to stick to dorsal views when appropriate, and lateral views, like the one in your Sedge Sprite, when that view is most appropriate for the subject.
P.S.  We will be posting your Scarab image separately, but we are not convinced that it is a Rose Chafer.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

2 sets of wings, yellow with black line down the back and green head
June 7, 2010
Just curious if it’s dangerous as my elderly mother is always in her garden and this guy (or gal) whizzed by her and popped a squat on a stick near her fig tree.
Virginia Beach

Skimmer Dragonfly

Dear Anthony,
This is one of two species of Skimmer Dragonflies in the genus Libellula and it is a female.  It may be the Golden Winged Skimmer, Libellula auripennis, which is profiled on BugGuide, or it may be Needham’s Skimmer, Libellula needhami, also profiled on BugGuideBugGuide indicates of Needham’s Skimmer:  “Males are best separated from male Golden-Wings by redder face and body, along with brown lower hindlegs and less orange wings. Female and juvenile male Needham’s best separated from Golden-Wings by lateral thoracic pattern, augmented by the two-toned costa.
”  The Golden Winged Skimmer is restricted to coastal areas.  Regarding the dangerous question, the species is not a consideration in our answer.  Traditionally, Dragonflies are victims of many colorful rumors and are called by a wealth of diabolical names, including the Devil’s Darning Needle.  As the Devil’s Darning Needle, it is believed that they will sew shut the lips of children who lied, women who scolded, and men who cursed, but this is false.  Dragonflies help rid the world of mosquitoes and biting flies, and they are considered beneficial insects who will not harm people.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination