Monday, July 2, 2012


What a beautiful dragonfly.  He cooperated by letting me get right below him and shoot toward the sky.  This is a Twelve-spotted Skimmer (male).  Just in the last year we have become interested in dragonflies and have found a whole new world!  We have posted pictures of the dragonflies we have seen in the last two months in Southeastern Minnesota.  We had no idea they were so beautiful and so varied.  What we took for granted for years, has become a revelation. 

Female Twelve-spotted Skimmer.

Widow Skimmer dragonflies are very common in our area. The one pictured above is either a female, or an immature male.  They are very difficult to tell apart. We tend to see these close to water. 

The Widow Skimmer male has  black markings next to the body similar to the female.  But, he also has white markings on his wings and a bluish to white body. 

This dragonfly is spooky and therefore difficult to photograph.  It  keeps about a 20 foot personal space and our small lenses have trouble capturing it at that distance.  Although this species looks like the previous dragonfly, it is a Common Whitetail and not a Widow Skimmer.

This dragonfly is called a Midland Clubtail.  Look at the thorax (tail section)  Notice that the last section is enlarged like a club, thus the name.  There are many species in the Clubtail family.  Many of them tend to be yellow, black, and often green in color.

Here is another member of the Clubtail family, the Pronghorn Clubtail.

The big green killing machine.  The Common Pondhawk will make a meal of anything its size or smaller.  This female was so green we had trouble locating it in our viewfinders even when we knew right where she was. 

Green Darners are large dragonflies that will range far from water and even migrate.  Pictured above is a juvenile Green Darner that is close to adulthood. (the adult male will have a bluish tail section)  Even though our home is about half a mile from water, our prairie has many Green Darners.  We appreciate all our dragonflies because they help to control our insect pests.  ( the famous Minnesota mosquitos)

Although this looks somewhat different from the Green Darner above, it is a Green Darner.  The bluish-green spot on the head, between the eyes, is diagnostic of  Green Darners.

This beautiful dragonfly is a Blue Darner.  There are at least 15 species of Blue Darners in the Midwest and they are all so similar that it takes real skill to tell them apart. We therefore just call all of them "Blue Darners".

Perched on a flowering grass, the Halloween Pennant is so named because of its coloration and habit of perching at the end of objects like a flag does.  Its flight is similar to that of a butterfly.

The dragonfly shown above is a White-faced Meadowhawk.  The Meadowhawk family has at least 8 species in our area.  Another species of Meadowhawk is shown below.  These dragonflies are fairly common in damp meadows and close to rivers.

These two Meadowhawks are mating.  The red male is on top.  The female will mate several times with several males. 

The Ebony Jewelwing male appears at times to be purple and at times green as the sunlight plays on its body.  The Jewelwings are actually damselflies and not dragonflies.  The damselflies tend to hold their wings upright, their bodies are more delicate, and they have a somewhat different eye structure than dragonflies.

This is the female Ebony Jewelwing.  Notice the white spot on each wing.