Dragonfly Season Kicks In
With the onset of summer and much warmer weather, insect populations multiply, especially the biting kind. Thanks to the various members of the damselfly and dragonfly suborders (Zygoptera and Anisoptera respectively), many insect populations are kept in check. Odonates (term to describe all damselflies and dragonflies as one) are carnivores that eat other insects, sometimes other dragonflies!. They are as colorful and interesting (behavior wise) as butterflies, but are not as popular with wildlife-watchers, just yet. Like birds, each species occupies certain habitats; this may vary over time, some even migrate like birds! We will highlight this group of insects over the next several days.
Our first species, pictured above, is a Common Whitetail (Plathemis lydia), a member of the Skimmer family. These are large dragonflies approaching two inches in length, easy to see even without binoculars.They are uncommon in the Wildlife Viewing Area near shallow flooded areas. Plants and twigs at waist level or below are favored for perching. Like flycatchers (birds), these insects “sally” out to capture an insect and return to perch to finish the meal.
If you look for this species be sure to apply good amounts of bug spray, mosquitoes are in abundance :-)