Thursday, August 6, 2009


Dragonflies start out life as naiads, living their lives as rather drab underwater predators for one to six years, depending on the species. The two photos below are the exuviae (not sure what species), the last exoskeletons left behind after the larvae's final molt as they move on with their lives to become radically different hunters of the air.

This might belong to Sympetrum sp., it's small, only about 10 mm long.

The newly emerged adult is called a teneral. The exoskeleton is still soft, it hasn't assumed its full adult coloration and the wings have a distinctive sheen. The first image is a Meadowhawk, Sympetrum sp ...

... an Eastern Pondhawk (Erythemis simplicollis)

... a Halloween Pennant (Celithemis eponina)

... a female Blue Dasher (Pachydiplax longipennis)

... and a male Widow Skimmer (Libellula luctuosa)

The male Widow Skimmer in the next two photos is a little older. The colors on the body are stronger and the black areas on the wings are clearly visible. A white bloom on the wings is just beginning to show and as he ages the abdomen will also develop a white pruinosity.