On Monday, I finally captured my first dragonfly shots of the season at Huntley Meadows Park, a recently emerged Common Basketttail dragonfly (Epitheca cynosura). For a couple of weeks I’ve been periodically seeing migrating Common Green Darners, but this is the first “native-born” dragonfly I have spotted.
The dragonfly is in a juvenile stage known as “teneral,” which initially confused me when I was trying to identify it. I looked through a lot of photos on the internet and they didn’t quite match up with some of the markings of “my” dragonfly.
Fortunately an expert came to the rescue when I posted the photos on the Northeast Odonata Facebook page and asked for help. Ed Lam, who literally wrote the book on odonata in the Northeast, replied that, “It’s a Common. It’s teneral so the stigmas and the hind wing patch will darken as it matures.” You can check out Ed’s book, Damselflies of the Northeast: A Guide to the Species of Eastern Canada and the Northeastern United States, on Amazon.
From my perspective, the dragonfly season has now officially opened. It is still really challenging, however, to find them this early, given that most species won’t emerge until much later in the spring and in early summer.
© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.