by Carl Strang
I encountered two damselfly species this year I never had seen before. One of these, the emerald spreadwing, was at the Morton Arboretum. I didn’t get a photo, as I still was learning how to maneuver with a broken clavicle and rib. The marsh habitat was different from my regular monitoring routes, and so this species could well be more common than might be suggested by my having gone for years without seeing one. The little spreadwing was beautiful, though, its body a metallic green color.
Somewhat more surprising was the second damselfly, as I found it at the end of my third season at Fullersburg Woods. I did not recognize the insect, but on that cool October 1 had no trouble approaching and photographing it.
It proved to be a female smoky rubyspot, a close relative of the ebony jewelwing and American rubyspot, two common, large damselflies of DuPage County streams. The species is uncommon, but certainly not unknown in northeast Illinois. Does it generally occur in parts of Salt Creek not visible from trails? Is it just plain rare on that preserve? Finding it, as well as the Cyrano darner and fawn darner mentioned in an earlier post, demonstrated that I need more experience with the dragonflies and damselflies of streams, so I plan to put in some kayak time next year looking for them at two or three sections of rivers in DuPage County.