Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Correction: NO Brush-tipped Emerald via Purple Martin!

Brush-tipped Emerald = Strike 1
Shadow Darner = Strike 2
Swamp Darner = final answer

Thanks to Chris Earley's sharp eyes, he noticed something was wrong with my emerald - it appeared too large to be a Brush-tipped so he suggested Williamson's. I worked with that for a while, but my dragonfly was still too big to be any emerald (close to 9cm without a head!). I started from scratch and realized it must be a darner. Because we found the dragonfly dead, it had lost most of the colour on it. It appeared all black with some green on the thorax making me think it was an emerald. The hairy claspers lead me to believe it a BTEM. In any event, I think it's just a Shadow Swamp Darner, albeit with hairy claspers... Is that normal? It doesn't really mention it in the literature. It's a Shadow Darner for now...

Once again, the Purple Martin Colony is adding great Ode records for Norfolk County. Gregor found a large, dark (and headless) dragonfly underneath the colony and saved it for me. At first glance it was pretty clear to me that I hadn't seen it before, although I was pretty sure it was some type of emerald (wrong) due to its dark colour and some metallic green markings on the thorax. I then noticed its very unique male claspers - they were hairy! I knew this would be enough to I.D. it to species and of course it turned out to be a Brush-tipped Emerald (really wrong). Having only seen American Emerald in Norfolk I quickly went online to the Ontario Odonata Atlas to check out the range map. I wasn't surprised to see no record of this species in Norfolk (and excited too of course). In fact, this would be the most southerly record for Ontario with the next closest records being from the  Brantford / Hamilton / Cambridge region (Thanks to James Holdsworth for pointing out that he has had this species in Norfolk before). Of course, the disclaimer, these maps are very much out of date so please correct me if you have other records. I look forward to hearing what the Google group has to say (foreshadowing). They are endangered in Ohio.

A headless Brush-tipped Emerald Shadow Swamp Darner above, close-up of male claspers below.

New for the year for me, several Lance-tipped Darners were foraging in a weedy field yesterday. The two females I found were slightly different colours with one showing more green, and the other showing some blue.

And lastly, some Red Saddlebags, the first I've been able to photograph this year. Several were foraging very far from water over some weedy fields. I found one that had a very pale face so I took lots of photos thinking there might be an outside chance it was something special. When you don't have a lot of experience with a species, you aren't sure what they are "supposed" to look like. I guess it's just an immature.


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