Monday, August 1, 2011

Dragonfly: Two-striped Forceptail (Aphylla williamsoni)

Last Friday, we made another obligatory stop by Whitetail Lake in the Charlie Elliott Wildlife Center in Jasper County, Georgia. The usual suspects were there: Widow Skimmers (Libellula luctuosa), Blue Dashers (Pachydiplax longipennis), Slaty Skimmers (Libellula incesta) and Eastern Amberwings (Perithemis tenera). As we walked along the shore, we spotted a ‘new’ dragonfly.

This dragonfly was quietly patrolling the shore, not making a big fuss. As I stood quietly at the edge of the lake, it would come within 4 to 5 feet of me. It would hover for a minute or so in the same small area. Moving forward a few inches and hovering before moving on again. It repeated this pattern over and over again. Then, occasionally it would hover and then back up repeatedly. Although I was close to it, I couldn’t get a good shot. Just as I managed to focus on it, it moved. So, I got what I could.

I’ve tentatively identified it as a Two-striped Forceptail (Aphylla williamsoni) and would appreciate confirmation/ correction.
A series showing…

The pattern on the abdomen,

the side of the thorax, and the

top of the thorax.

Last Saturday, while driving along Sandy Run Road in Hancock County, we saw a number of these dragonflies hunting small insect that were flying in the sun above the roadway. One flew beside the car for several seconds, long enough to get a clear view of its color pattern.

In Georgia, the two-striped Forceptail (Aphylla williamsoni) occurs from mid-July until early October and has only been documented in four counties in Georgia: Jackson, Bulloch, Bryan, Steward and Seminole counties. It is probably more widely distributed but hard to photograph since it appears to always be on the move.

Click on an image to view a larger image

Identification resources:

- Georgia Dragonfly Survey: Two-striped Forceptail (Aphylla williamsoni)

- BugGuide: Two-striped Forceptail (Aphylla williamsoni)

- S. L Brown: Two-striped Forceptail (Aphylla williamsoni)

Related post:

- Dragonfly Afternoon At Whitetail Lake


frogpondsrock said...

I love Dragonflies, they are so hard to photograph though, You have done a really good job. Thank you

JSK said...

Dragonflies are my favorites too. This year, with the drought and high temperatures, butterflies aren't doing very well. Dragonflies seem to be doing OK though.