Basic Dragonfly Lesson

For the last year or so, I’ve wanted to increase my skills at identifying insects species.  It hasn’t been easy, but slowly and surely, I am getting a little better.  Last Friday at Vassar Farm was the first time I was able to ID all of my dragonflies, so I figured I would pass along my knowledge to you, the reader. 🙂

At the front pond at Vassar Farm, there were many species of dragonflies zipping about.  Every now and then, they would land, which gave me an opportunity to photograph them.  This is what I found:

Eastern Amberwing

This dragonfly is relatively small in comparison to some of the other ones I spotted throughout the day.  The photo below is a male, which can be identified the clear amber colored wings.  Females will have large dark splotches on the wings.

Common Whitetail

The shot below is of a male.  The major identifiers are the blueish white abdomen and the wing pattern.  Females have a brown abdomen and a different wing pattern and look very similar to another species, the twelve-spotted skimmer.

Blue Dasher

Another common dragonfly.  The photo below is of another male, identified by the black tipped abdomen, overall blue color and blue-green eyes.  Females look much different, and I will need more time to get a picture to better accurately describe it.

Widow Skimmer

The photo below is another male – which can be determined by the white spots on the wings.  They are mostly brown with brown patches on their wings as well.  As they get older, their abdomen actually turns whitish.

Twelve-spotted Skimmer

This photo was actually taken a week prior to all the other ones, but since I saw it at the same place, I figured I would include him.  Once again, the photo below is a male – which is identified from the white spots on the wings between the darker spots.  While their abdomen is typically brown with stripes along each side, the abdomen changes to a blueish color the older they get.

That’s it for now, but I will try to add more as I find them.  Next time you go hiking, check out those dragonflies! 🙂

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