Odonata Appearances

by Carl Strang

Additional insect species continue to make their first appearances of the year at Mayslake Forest Preserve. Last week brought the first widow skimmer.

This is a teneral, or newly emerged, individual. Note the faint undeveloped dark wing areas.

I remember learning to recognize these years ago, finally releasing my focus on wing pattern as I discovered the suspenders-like yellow body striping.

I still haven’t internalized the differences among spreadwing damselflies, and try to photograph every one I see.

Females like this slender spreadwing I find particularly challenging. The pale wingtip veins are a big help here.

One fun photographic challenge is to get pictures of dragonflies in flight.

Some, like the prince baskettail, never seem to land, so flight photos are the only choice most of the time.

Though insects continue to appear early, there are plenty still to emerge as the season is yet young.

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