Tag Archives: Dragonflies and Damselflies

Black saddlebags skimmer dragonfly

I’d noticed this dragonfly returning to the same twig a few times so I positioned myself to take photos if it continued to do so. Luckily it did and I got a few shots before it took off for good.

The black saddlebags dragonfly (Tramea lacerata) gets its name from the distinctive markings on the wings. It’s found in most places in the U.S. and is one of those good bugs because both naiads and adults help control mosquitos by consuming their larvae.

Wandering glider dragonfly

Wandering glider dragonfly on a twig

Wandering glider dragonflyThe wandering glider (Pantala flavescens) is a fairly common dragonfly with a worldwide distribution, but it’s not one I’ve previously photographed. This isn’t for lack of trying.

I like dragonflies, so I’m always lured in when I see them flitting around. I figure that, even though they’re in motion, I should be able to get a photo because they often fly back and forth over small areas looking for food. So I’ve taken hundreds of dragonfly photos, many of which have a bit of dragonfly in them, some of them a whole dragonfly, a few where the dragonfly is fuzzy but identifiable, one or two that look pretty good.

This was another of those days. There were three or four dragonflies in the area and I was shooting photos with my usual success rate when I saw one of them settle. This one was clearly not familiar with dragonfly rules of conduct, which state: 1. Remain in constant motion if photographers are present. 2. If you must rest, make sure you aren’t observed.

Cashing in on my luck, I got several photos before the dragonfly flew off. I took a few more futile flying shots and was about to leave, when the same dragonfly landed again in almost the same spot. I particularly like the single yellow-brown cell in each of the wings, which is a handy identifier.

Green darner dragonflies mating at Kiholo on the Big Island of Hawaii.

Green Darner dragonflies mating

Green darner dragonflies mating at Kiholo on the Big Island of Hawaii.
The headline pretty much says it all. I saw these green darner dragonflies at the anchialine pond at the south end of Kiholo park. Anchialine ponds are landlocked, but connected to the ocean underground. They contain a mix of fresh and saltwater. The air above the pond was thick with dragonflies so I’m keen to return and spend more time there.

A Hawaiian Upland damselfly (Megalagrion hawaiiense) on the Big Island

Hawaiian Upland damselfly

A Hawaiian Upland damselfly (Megalagrion hawaiiense) on the Big Island
The Hawaiian Upland damselfly (Megalagrion hawaiiense) is endemic to the state. Hawaiians called dragonflies pinao and damselflies pinao ‘ula. I’ve never been sure what the difference between the two is but I have learned that, among other things, damselflies tend to be smaller, have eyes on the side of the head that are clearly separate, and can fold their wings behind them.

This one was on the Kaumana Trail off Saddle Road (officially the Daniel K. Inouye Highway) at an elevation just over 5,000 feet.