Saturday, June 25, 2011

Dragonfly Afternoon At Whitetail Lake

Yet another trip to Charlie Elliott Wildlife Center at Clybel Wildlife Management Area in Jasper County, Georgia. We were really checking on Clasping Milkweed (Asclepias amplexicaulis) seed pods but we always go by Whitetail Lake. We saw a lot of dragonflies on our last visit but they were continuously in flight and not landing, and it was too late to stop for long.

When we first drove down to the lake, we couldn’t see any activity. But then we saw them. Lots of them and at least five different species that we could distinguish from a distance. We got sucked in since some were landing. There must have been a 40 to 50 dragonflies in a small area of weeds and fallen branches.

Slaty Skimmers (Libellula incesta)

Blue Dashers (Pachydiplax longipennis)...

probably outnumbered the other dragonflies in the group

A Slaty Skimmer in the foreground was trying to steal the limelight.

This pose with the tail in the air is called the "obelisk" position. Blue Dashers are frequently seen in this position during the heat of summer days. It is thought that this position helps to regulate body temperature.

Common Whitetails (Plathemis lydia)

This may have been the only Common Whitetail in the group. It seemed content to camp on this quiet twig just above the water and avoid the frenzy of dragonflies swarming in the area.

Spangled Skimmer (Libellula cyanea)

Spangled Skimmers are easy to recognize at a distance by the white spots that ‘shine’ like little neon lights at the front edge of the forewing. Interestingly, we only saw male Spangled Skimmers in this group.

This twig was quite popular. This skimmer and a Blue Dasher frequently competed for this particular spot. The skimmer won the spot.

In addition to these dragonflies, there were a number of Widow Skimmers (Libellula luctuosa) and a few Eastern Amberwings (Perithemis tenera). We didn’t see the Widow Skimmers land. The amberwings, being potential prey for the bigger dragonflies, occasionally flew by from another area and stayed low to the water at the edge of the group.
Click on an image to view a larger image

Related posts:

- Charlie Elliot Wildlife Center: Whitehall Lake

- Dragonfly: Slaty Skimmer (Libellula incesta)

- Dragonfly: Common Whitetail (Plathemis lydia)

- Dragonfly: Widow Skimmer (Libellula luctuosa)

- Dragonfly, Eastern Amberwing (Perithemis tenera)


A.L. Gibson said...

Just found your blog and I've quickly grown to love it! Nice to see other people have such a passion for botany. Asclepias variegata is rare in my home state of Ohio but I have seen it on several occasions, a gorgeous Milkweed no doubt!

Feel free to visit and follow my blog over at

JSK said...

Thanks for stopping by. I've added your blog to my reader. It's going to help me a lot. It seems we share an interest in following the stages of growth, blooming and seed development. I'm using it as a tool to learn but it's fun to share.