Sunday, August 23, 2009

The Flame Skimmer: Dragonfly Number 2

Today’s blog will be almost entirely pictures. The pictures are all of a Flame Skimmer (what a wonderful name!) that flew into my yard and conveniently perched on a twig on a Cedar Elm tree where my daughter and wife took these pictures for me—my photography skills are worse than primitive.

Here’s a brief description of the Flame Skimmer from Odonata Central (, probably the premier dragonfly site on the Internet:

This conspicuous dragonfly commands the notice of even the most casual observer. Males are found searching long stretches of streams for potential mates or they are seen perched on tall vegetation near the ponds and pools used by females for egg laying. Males will warn off intruders by flying towards and then along with them in an ascending flight with only one male returning to the perch. Females lay eggs in a similar manner to Neon Skimmer, by throwing water along with the eggs towards the shore. Males will guard females from a perch for only a short time after mating in flight. Males tend to occur at areas along streams where receptive females are likely to visit, both seasonally and during the course of the day. Both of these observations indicate male mate-searching patterns in this species are sexually s elected. The small disjunct population in Houston, Harris Co., Texas, represents the easternmost record for this species, likely accidentally introduced as larvae with aquatic plants (Honig pers. comm.).

If you keep your eyes open, you probably will see this beautiful dragonfly as well, if you live anywhere in the American Southwest.

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