Subject: Western Flying Adder? (also, dragonfly eyes)
Location: Fairbanks Alaska
July 21, 2013 10:53 am
Thank you again for your wonderful site. I have spent way too much time, following paths of links through your interesting pages. But that isn’t why I’m writing.
It seems that we have just a could of kinds of dragonflies that we see frequently around our house, so I thought it might be nice to be able to identify them. Here is a photo of one of them that my son managed to have perch on his hand. From what I could find I thought it might be a Western Flying Adder (Cordulegaster dorsalis) but I’m NOT an expert yet!
The other thing that I think is really cool about several of these photos is the way that you can see hexagonal reflections on the eyes. That isn’t just in the photos – we saw that in ”real life” too. Is that because of the hexagonal structure of the ommatidium that the eyes are made up of?
Signature: Mother and Son Bug Fans



Dear Mother and Son Bug Fans,
Thanks for your compliment.  Alas, we often have difficulty with species identifications for Dragonflies, but this might be
Cordulegaster dorsalis which BugGuide calls a Pacific Spiketail.  We like the name Western Flying Adder, but we don’t know where you learned that name.  Perhaps one of our knowledgeable readers can assist with this species identification.  We believe individual facets of the eyes are hexagonal.




Location: Fairbanks, Alaska

4 Responses to Alaskan Dragonfly: Possibly Western Flying Adder

  1. Mother and Son bug fans says:

    I found the name “Western Flying Adder” on Looking at the pictures on bug guide I don’t think that is what this is. Thanks for your help, and perhaps the help of your readers.

  2. Mother and Son bug fans says:

    Looking further on bug guide I think it is more likely to be a paddle-tailed Darner (Aeshna palmata)

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