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Posts Tagged ‘Perithemis tenera’

Dragonflies seem to love to perch on this piece of rusted rebar that sticks out of the water at Jackson Miles Abbott Wetland Refuge. I really like the juxtaposition of the man-made and natural elements in this shot of a male Eastern Amberwing dragonfly (Perithemis tenera) that I spotted on Monday.

You can’t see it really well in the first shot, but there is a spider on the rebar in addition to the dragonfly.  I got a better shot of the spider later in the day. I don’t know for sure that it could capture the dragonfly, but it’s a potentially dangerous situation for the dragonfly (and I have photographed several dragonflies that had fallen prey to spiders in the past).

Eastern Amberwing


spider

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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As I was exploring Jackson Miles Abbott Wetland Refuge last weekend, I spotted some Eastern Amberwing dragonflies (Perithemis tenera) flying low above the surface of the pond. One of them, a female, kept returning to a particular spot and would dip down and touch the water to deposit eggs. A male would periodically make an appearance and I couldn’t tell for sure if he was guarding the female or was trying to put the moves on her.

This is my favorite shot of the encounter. The dragonfly on the left is a male Eastern Amberwing and the one coming in from the right is a female. I thought about cropping the image in closer, but decided to keep it like this in order to retain the ripples and the reflection, elements that I really like.

 

Eastern Amberwing

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

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I don’t often see dragonflies in a garden, but spotted this female Eastern Amberwing dragonfly (Perithemis tenera) amidst the flowers earlier this week at Green Spring Gardens. There were lots of male Eastern Amberwings buzzing around the small ponds in another location at the gardens in hopeful expectation of finding a mate.

I have the impression that female dragonflies like to hang out in a different area from the males and then make an appearance at a time of their own choosing.

Eastern Amberwing

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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Despite their differences in size and appearance, the Eastern Amberwing (Perithemis tenera) and the Common Whitetail (Plathemis lydia) dragonflies were able to co-exist peacefully and both were able to enjoy the same perch this morning at Huntley Meadows Park.

Why is it so hard for us to do the same?

coexist1_8Jul_blog

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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Summer is definitely here. In the Washington D.C. area where I live, summer means endless stretches of hot, humid weather. Even the insects seem to move more slowly, like this Eastern Amberwing dragonfly (Perithemis tenera) that I recently photographed as it languidly buzzed around the vegetation at Brookside Gardens in Wheaton, Maryland.

Eastern Amberwing

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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Normally I like to photograph dragonflies in their natural environment, but when an Eastern Amberwing dragonfly (Perithemis tenera) chose to perch on a curved piece of rebar recently, the juxtaposition of the natural and man-made elements seemed to create a sense of harmony rather than one of dissonance.

I took this photo at a small man-made pond at Green Spring Gardens in Alexandria, Virginia. Later in the summer I hope to see water lilies and lotus blossoms at the pond, but it is mostly devoid of vegetation right now, which many be why the dragonfly chose this unusual perch.

I have no idea why this piece of reinforcing steel is sticking out of the water, but its reddish-brown color and curved shape made it a good match for this tiny dragonfly.

Eastern Amberwing

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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When I first spotted a tiny Eastern Amberwing dragonfly (Perithemis tenera) flying low over the water and flexing yesterday at Huntley Meadows Park, I assumed that it was a female depositing eggs into the water. As I continued to watch (and try to get shots) a couple of things became clear—it was a male, not a female, and he was pointing his abdomen up into the air, not down into the water. What was he doing?

Apparently this is courting behavior and he was trying to impress a lady that he had spotted. There is a fascinating description of this process in a blog posting by the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee Field station that I highly recommend. Here is an extract from that posting.

“A male flies low over the water, patrolling a territory about 20 feet wide of choice egg-laying turf (weedy aquatic sites) and defending it vigorously – darting out at intruders and displaying with those spectacular wings. When a female approaches, he follows and courts her, swaying back and forth, abdomen raised. If she’s agreeable, she follows him home. He hovers over his territory while she evaluates it, and if she likes it, she gets him along with it.”

As the third photo shows, his courting behavior was successful. After they mated, she deposited the eggs into the water and he returned to his perch, ready to chase off rivals and attract more female dragonflies. (In case you are not familiar with this dragonfly species, the Eastern Amberwing is one of the smallest dragonflies in the United States, with a body length of just under one inch (25 mm).

Eastern Amberwing

 

Eastern Amberwing

Eastern Amberwing

Eastern Amberwing

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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