Posts Tagged ‘odonata’

Newly emerged male bluet https://thingsbiological.wordpress.com/2010/08/18/male-bluet/ on a mat of algae at the University of Illinois pond at the intersection of First and Windsor in Champaign. Click/double click to enlarge.

Newly emerged male bluet on a mat of algae at a University of Illinois pond, First and Windsor in Champaign. Click/double click image to enlarge.

Dragonfly Wings in Slow Motion & Close-Up” is an excellent six minute video dealing with direct flight musculature, found in damselflies and dragonflies. Check it out.

The producers of the video use a high speed Phantom Miro video camera. I was excited to see these video cameras available for $1,500, but quickly disappointed to see that is a daily rental rate. Ranging from $26,000 to $60,000, I would like one. My birthday is coming up in another week…

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Odonate entomophagy

A green darner (Anax junius) turns the entomophagy tables on Daniel Pearlstein (September 6, 2009).

Thanks so much to my favorite dragonfly blogger, Chris Goforth, whose recent entry (October 15, 2012) focused on dragonfly entomophagy. Check it out. Chris is engaging in all of her writings. The entry even includes recipes – just in case you want to give it a try!

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Brown, but stunning nonetheless. Click/double click image to enlarge.

Like other species in the family Coenagrionidae, males are distinctly colored with clear markings, while the females of many species have two or three different color morphs, all of which are largely brown.

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Damselfly Mating

Sexually dimorphic, males of this Sonoran Desert coenagrionid species are blue/violet, while females are a browner color. Click image to enlarge.

Unlike most insects, male damselflies deposit sperm in a secondary genitalia structure on the second and third abdominal segment by bending the abdomen forward.

Once the sperm has been transferred, the male courts females, eventually clasping a female behind the head with claspers on the tip of his abdomen.

The two fly in tandem for a period of time. Eventually the female loops her abdomen toward the male’s secondary genitalia, and fertilization occurs.

Males may carry the coupled female to emergent plants and floating vegetation or even dip them directly into the water for egglaying.

Eggs develop. The emerging aquatic naiads molt 10 to 12 times before the final instar crawls out of the water and up a vertical surface, where the adult emerges from its nymphal exoskeleton.

Typically damselflies produce a single generation per year, regardless of where they live. Adult damselflies live for a few weeks to a few months.

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They always pose better when eating... Click image to enlarge.

Even the cryptically colored Sonoran damselflies are stunning!

A face-on view can be seen at https://thingsbiological.wordpress.com/2010/08/03/even-the-damselflies-are-cryptically-colored/.

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I LOVE photographing the aquatic life at Kickapoo State Park.

The following entry was written Monday, May 31, 2011.

Mid-90s, humid, chance of rain, but maybe not… It’s pretty clearly summer, even if it’s still May!

I took advantage of my first day of summer vacation to drive out to Kickapoo State Park, the first Illinois state park I had opportunity to visit upon arriving at the University of Illinois to begin work on my MS in entomology in 1980. Ellis MacLeod introduced me and my fellow Entomology 401: Insect Systematics classmates to this beautiful natural area. I’ve always loved the streams, the riffles, the not-too-rapid rapids, the cliff areas, the woods, the meadows… and have taken my Field Biology students to the park to explore its great arthropod diversity every year since 1986.

Kickapoo State Park was one of eleven state parks slated for closure in November, 2008. I am still astounded that such a treasure was once on the chopping block, but it did survive and hopefully will be a place my great grandchildren can visit.

Kickapoo State Park is my favorite arthropod photography site. I look forward to photographing there several times each month through the end of September.

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"Double Deception" earned a score of 77 at this year's competition. Click image to enlarge.

I decided to do something a little different when I selected images for this salon. Because the number of entomologists on the judging committee for this salon is higher than any other international PSA salons (I think), I entered two images with a proven track record in general PSA Nature competitions (strong detail and background, including the image that received Honorable Mention in ESA’s 2010 National Insect Salon in December) and two images that tell a story and show great external arthropod details, but have a blurry background – normally a PSA kiss of death.

The score for acceptance in this salon was a 70. Again the photo gods smiled favorably – all four images submitted were accepted. The images that told a story and showed great invertebrate detail received the higher scores. Those with less story, but technically better photographs in their entirety, received lower scores.

I’ll need to keep that in mind when selecting images for next year’s salon.

"Full" earned a score of 73. Click image to enlarge.

"Kickapoo Male Bluet" earned a score of 72. Click image to enlarge.

“Meadowbrook Grasshopper” earned a score of 71. Click image to enlarge.

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"Kickapoo Male Bluet," July, 2010. Note the tiny insect seeking shade under the damselfly's abdomen. Click image to magnify.

New Jersey’s Ridgewood Camera Club sponsors one of the best international nature photography competitions. The number of entries is huge, and the accepted images are stunning.

Last year I entered the competition and was thrilled to have an image accepted. Just got the results for this year – two images were accepted.

“At the Sanapdragon’s Doorway,” one of last year’s top two performers, scored 12 points. “Kickapoo Male Bluet” scored 13 points.

I’ll put up the the URL for the Ridgewood Camera Club accepted image slide show once it has been assembled. I think Ridgewood Camera Club’s slide show of accepted images is the pinnacle of international nature image selection.

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Grooming After Egglaying, last year's top performer, earned 15/15.

Thomisid Egglaying, 15/15 in its first international competition.

Bluet Egglaying, 14/15 in its first international competition.

The Photo Gods began the international photography competition season smiling favorably on some of my most recent photos. In this competition, “Nature” included photos taken in zoo or wildlife park settings, while “Wildlife” required the species be photographed in its natural habitat. Since almost all of my photos (except my early mantid shots) are taken in the subject’s natural setting, I distributed my entries somewhat randomly between the two divisions.

Three of my eight submissions were accepted. “Grooming After Egglaying” was accepted in the Nature category. “Bluet Egglaying” and “Thomisid Egglaying” made their international photo competition debut and were both accepted in the Wildlife category. “Grooming After Egglaying” and “Thomisid Egglaying” scored the maximum number of points possible (15). The egg focus of the three images didn’t escape my notice either…

With seven international photography competition’s data under my belt, I’ll continue eliminating some of the least competitive images using the system outlined in “System for Selecting Images for Competition.” I’ll post some of those images and offer some thoughts regarding why those images weren’t as competitive as I had originally thought they might be. Stay tuned if you are interested in the competition aspect, or just look at the pictures as they appear if you are more the browser type.

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Male ebony jewelwing showing characteristic emerald green body and uniformly black wings.

Female jewelwing showing less brilliant body coloration and wide brown wings with white stigma at the top of each front wing.

Ebony jewelwings (Calopteryx maculata) are stunning, long-legged damselflies, found in proximity to shaded streams, that always stand out from the environment. Both genders are characterized by a metallic ebony body. Males have extraordinarily wide, uniformly black wings, while the wings of females are brown with white stigmas.

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