Friday, June 10, 2011

Dragonfly: Georgia River Cruiser (Macromia illinoiensis georgina)

On our visit to the Broad River Wildlife Management Area in Wilkes County, Georgia, we made our way along a trail down to the Broad River. In a clearing in the woods where we saw the Little Wood Satyr (Megisto cymela) and a Southern Pearly Eye (Enodia portlandia), we also saw a Polygonia sp. (Question Mark or Comma). We were trying to get a look at the underside of the wing to identify the butterfly when it flew into a nearby Sweetgum (Liquidamber styraciflua), W got there first and it was obvious that he’d seen something much more interesting than the butterfly. And he had. A dragonfly that had settled for the night, clinging to a branch.

A photo session ensued...

Looking from directly behind.

Looking form a slight angle

Looking from the side

A closer view of the thorax and head from ‘above’

A closer view from a slight angle

A closer view from the side, and ..

A view of the wing pattern.

We had seen several of these or similar dragonflies in the woods, cruising back and forth near the water, and rarely settling. I guessed this was a cruiser and after reviewing photographs from several sources, decided that it was one of three species: a Stream Cruiser (Didymops transversa), a Florida Cruiser (Didymops floridensis), or a Georgia River Cruiser (Macromia illinoiensis georgina). Based mainly on the pattern of the white bars on its abdomen, I’ve identified it as a Georgia River Cruiser. I’d be interested to learn if others concur with this identification.

It was interesting that we photographed this dragonfly using either a macro flash or an led light array held close. The close views were taken with a macro lens also held very close to the dragon. At one point it swiveled its head to ‘watch’ us but it at no time did it appear to show any concern about the activity close to it.

Judging by the lack of photographs of this species online, it appears that we were treated to a rare sighting of this cruiser at rest.

Click on an image to view a larger image

Identification resources:

- BugGuide:
- Georgia River Cruiser (Macromia illinoiensis georgina)

- Stream Cruiser (Didymops transversa)

- Florida Cruiser (Didymops floridensis)

- Giff Beaton's
Dragonflies and Damselflies (Odonata) of Georgia and the Southeast: Georgia River Cruiser (Macromia illinoiensis georgina)
- Dave Welling, Striking Images of Nature: Georgia River Cruiser (Macromia illinoiensis georgina)

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