The saying is so true, “the more you know the more you realize you don’t know”.
Cute little carnivores that prefer insects of many types and sizes, these hunters fascinate me. I love their big “bug” eyes and often metallic colors. Dragonfly flight maneuvers are as incredible to watch as hummingbirds. Their varied patterning and colors have led to eighty-eight species identified in northern Illinois, which means I have much photography to do. Such times are when I yearn for a macro lens, regretting my sale of two when I parted with my 35mm equipment and entered the digital age. Now I realize I could have continued using the lenses. Photography is a continuous challenge and with dragonflies the challenge is more intense when using a long lens for such small subjects; a guaranteed fun time for me. But let me return to my thoughts on these amazing carnivores.
Dragonflies are male and female and Damselflies are male and female. The main difference in these insects is that wings on the dragonfly stick straight out from the body (like an airplane), while Damselfly wings fold back above the slender body while resting. The broadwing Ebony Jewelwing (Calopteryx maculate) Damselfly emerald color glistens in the morning light.
With this knowledge I am STUCK on identifying the second image. It “should” be a damselfly since the wings are closed above the body. The body is slender leading to label of damselfly also. But search as I may, I have yet to figure out that species I was looking at that morning. Both species were in the forest preserve near a stream
bank. I thought I’d narrowed it down to Leucorrhinia proxima (Red-Waisted Whiteface or Belted Whiteface), but that is a dragonfly whose wings rest in the stretched out manner, and the wings seem more transparent than the one in this image. I do not have any closer images since I was using my long lens, as I expected to hunt deer that morn. PLEASE HELP; let me know if you can identify this second image. I am the damsel in stress!
Nature’s food chains are sometimes best left as abstract truth. The last time I posted about dragonflies I was horrified to realize the one I’d just photographed was momentarily caught by a mother and fed to her baby Martins. See “Observation from hunting on the prairie….”, July 19, 2011 if you want to relive my reality incident.
Great dichotomous key site to help identify dragonfly and damselfly species. Try it out: http://sonic.net/~bigsnest/Pond/dragons/CA_key.html.
The Ebony is a damselfly. Damselflies are closely related to dragonflies and they look very much alike. The easiest way to tell dragonflies and