Well-Nigh Wordless Wednesday: Late Season Odonates

I finally made it to the North Carolina Zoo a few days ago!  I had wanted to go since I moved here, largely because they have a Sonoran Desert exhibit with a lot of the species I miss from Arizona, and I was excited I finally had a chance to go.  The Sonoran Desert exhibit was not my favorite part, however.  It was this:


Lestes sp

Archilestes grandis?

There were dozens of dragonflies and damselflies (=odonates) out flying around the marshy area near the entrance!  I am not 100% sure which species this is as they were a ways off and I am really that not great at IDing lestid damselfly species anyway, but they were huge so probably Archilestes grandis? And there were a lot of them.  I was excited to see any dragonflies or damselflies out this late in the year!

Anyone else still seeing dragonflies and damselflies?

(Thanks to Mike Powell for making me question my initial identification of this damselfly as a Lestes sp.!)


Unless otherwise stated, all text, images, and video are copyright © C. L. Goforth

32 thoughts on “Well-Nigh Wordless Wednesday: Late Season Odonates

  1. Still some mosaic darners (probably Shadow darners) and Autumn Meadowhawks in Southeastern Wisconsin. “Mixed precipitation” expected by the weekend, though.

  2. I’ve seen them here in California’s Central Valley. Los Banos to be exact. When we bought our house five years ago there were so many dragonflys around, we named our home Dragonfly Manor! Ha Ha!

  3. Wow, that looks a lot like the Great Spreadwing damselfly (Archilestes grandis) whose photo I posted on my blog a few minutes ago. The distinctive yellow “racing” stripe supposedly eliminates other possible candidates (and they are huge for damselflies).

    • You know, that’s what I thought at first too. But it’s not listed in that county anywhere, so I second guessed myself and thought surely I was wrong in my ID. Might ask an expert to ID it! I suck at my adult lestid IDs… Nymphs, no problemo, but adults are a whole different ballgame!

        • I’ve actually gone ahead and changed my tentative ID in the post and e mailed a photo to a local odonate expert I know for confirmation. I think you’re right. I was trusting all of the distribution maps, which said it isn’t in Randolph County, NC, but I think they’re wrong. This has to be Archilestes – it’s too big to be anything else!

  4. We’ve had some warm weather here still in SE Pennsylvania so I’ve still seen a few, but I suspect the change to cold today will slow things down. Saw a quite large Anax junius the other day! Plus a pretty little red-bodied dragonfly that I need to get the picture off my phone & onto the computer so I can figure out what it was :-)

    • I saw my first Anax in a few weeks a couple of days ago! Glad to know there are still some out and about. And would you be interested in texting me your photo? I might be able to help with the ID. If so, I’ll shoot you an e mail with my phone ##.

      • Oh absolutely, I’d be happy to send you my photo. Although I should warn you that it’s actually two dragonflies, and they’re, umm, busy together. Hope that isn’t too racy ;-D

        • Ha ha! Not too racy at all. Remember that I study mating systems in giant water bugs as one of my research topics – I’ve watched SO much bug porn over the last 14 years that I’m immune. :)

  5. how common or unusual is it to get a damsel to sit on your finger? I was able to do this frequently this past summer with at least one regularly visiting damselfly in my commercial cactus & succulent greenhouse in West Chester, PA. Please respond, and let me know if you want to hear the whole story—there’s more. Richard Lenatsky

    • Honestly, I have no idea! I would have thought it wasn’t all that common, but judging from the number of responses to my “bizarre dragonfly behavior” post from a couple of years ago, some people have this happen to them a lot. I haven’t ever had it happen myself, but lots of others have so… I guess I’d say that it’s not especially common, but it does happen?

  6. I took a nice walk this afternoon along a recently drained irrigation ditch here, outside Albuquerque, NM. Within a stretch of about 100 – 200 yards I saw at least dozen Great Spreadwings – one pair in tandem, and one female depositing eggs in the shallow puddles that were all that was left in the ditch, most were flying and hanging on the nearby shrubs. It’s not unusual to see one or two in the area during warmer months, so was astonished at the display today. Very cool, so I was happy to see your post. In this case truly better late than on time.

  7. You, definitely had a Great Spreadwing, Archilestes grandis. We are now experiencing continually cool, soggy weather in the Northwest, so I think it’s safe to say that it will be several months before I see an odonate again.

    • Was hoping you would weigh in! I was thinking Archilestes and then second guessed myself as I associate it with the southwest (it was very common in some areas of Arizona) and I thought it couldn’t possibly be over here in the southeast. Searching for the species in the county where I saw them only reinforced my second guessing as it didn’t appear in the county on any of the sites I searched. But it had to be Archilestes because it was way too big to be anything else! And I guess that means I will have the first confirmed county record – fun!

      • It’s a widespread species in the east—more so than in the west (so far not found north of California). Since it’s a new county record, it would be great to submit that to OdonataCentral.org (if you haven’t already, that is).

        • I was wrong. Shadow Darners (Aeshna umbrosa) were out today in Vancouver, Washington. The clouds parted and it turned out to be really nice this afternoon. Several of them were hanging up on banks of Himalayan blackberry where it caught the afternoon sun. All males, so the females must have been taking advantage of the conditions to lay eggs instead of loafing about in the sun.

  8. I have absolutely no bearing in this scientific field, but I can not help noticing the passion with which you voraciously study and love entomology. In case you do not receive enough congratulation on your wonderful work and log, might I offer some hearty applause for you achievements as well as my own piqued curiosity.

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