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DSA Update No. 3 – Our First Field Day

by Bryan on June 26th, 2010

The Ophiogomphus howei (Pygmy Snaketail) was like some sub-atomic particle, zig-zagging at light speed only inches over the Machias River. Most of us, wading in the river, could do little more than stand and watch, getting a swing now and then … and mostly missing. One male Pygmy Snaketail, after slipping through a gauntlet of nets, zoomed toward Steve Collins. I yelled, “He’s coming at you!” Steve swung and landed his second O. howei of the day. (I get an assist.) This is among the prized dragonflies on the continent. It spends most of its days high in riverside trees, making occasional sorties to the river. I’ve encountered and photographed many other members of this genus, some of them exceedingly rare. But O. howei is a prize, no more than two inches long, a bullet with a mind of its own, a dream dragonfly for most of us. That image above is one of Steve’s males posed on a stump (where you’ll never find any self-respecting O. howei).

I believe we’re up to six Ophiogomphus species for the meeting so far, including O. anomalus. And we’re slowly building our Somatochlora list, which is now at least six species, including a female S. cingulata (Lake Emerald) I landed on the Machias River yesterday. (Here’s an image of a male.) And below is Blair Nikula’s shot (last year) of 1000 Acre Heath. The road nearby is where we’re finding most of our Somatochlora. I’ll post a species list and other images tomorrow.

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