Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Odonates a little about them!

Well it looks like we have made it though the hard freezes here in North Carolina, the greens did fine. Today it is expected to get to 64 degrees, then the possibility of rain for the next 3 days. So with not much gardening going on I came up with this post.

I've been chasing odonates for many years, odonates means dragonflies and damselflies from the order of Odonata.

Do you know how to quickly tell them apart? Come on think about this one..

Ok, I'll tell you dragonflies always perch, well at least the ones you see perching with the wings flat open like this female Yellow-sided Skimmer on the right.

Damselflies always perch with their wings closed over their backs like this Sparkling Jewelwing. Jewelwing females are easy to tell by the white stigma near the top edge of the wings.

There is one exception to damselflies having closed wings behind their backs, the spreadwing damselflies. Spreadwings hold the wings partly open like this male Southern Spreadwing.

Speadwings are my favorite damselfies as the are hard to find and always found along ponds and marsh edges unlike some of the other damselfies that travel away from water a good bit. Telling them apart is another thing altogether.


Dave said...

Great shots! I'm amazed that you could catch them sitting still. They move around so much that for me they have been elusive to photograph.

Heather said...

Randy, I am learning a lot from your site. I won't be having the read the butterfly/dragonfly books this year. I planted the beginning of a butterfly garden to this info is great. I see you on Blotanical but you will need to get a google feedburner to make it work with your posts. It took me 2 weeks to figure this out myself. There is some info in the help tab under frequently asked questions.
I enjoy your postings.

Shiloh Prairie Farm said...

Interesting information and great pictures!

gardenerprogress/Catherine said...

Your photos are beautiful. We get both dragon and damselflies, I had no idea how to tell them apart. I just thought the larger ones were dragonflies. Is this a similar way that people distinguish between moths and butterflies?

Randy Emmitt said...

My web site www.rlephoto.com is actually a butterfly book online for the southeastern US, but not for your area.

I'll do a post for you in the future on this subject. To be blunt about it, telling moths from butterflies is easy. Moths have all types of unusual antennas, butterflies just have a simple antenna with a small club. In flight moths seem to crash land, where as butterflies tend to land gracefully.

Patience is all you need to get shots like this. Lots of dragonflies like to perch, find the perch that they defend from other dragonflies and wait for the return.

Kevin Campbell said...

Great blog, great photography.

Kanak Hagjer said...

I just love these photographs. Although I know the basic difference between dragons and damsels I haven't seen spreadwings before. I agree with the others that there's always something to learn from your posts and also from your comments.

Lanny said...

I love to lie on the grass and watch the dragon flies go back and forth, back and forth, the dragonfly usually outlasts me.

Randy Emmitt said...


I once had an unusual thing happen to me while exploring a remote place in NC's coastal plain. I heard the snap of wings colliding and looked up and saw a Regal Darner coming straight down. The canopy of the trees had lots of dragonflies flying about and this one just fell to my feet to photograph it. The only one of this species I've ever seen close up, one of its eyes was slightly collapsed.