Sunday, August 12, 2007

Dragons in love

While exploring the fields around the Minnesota River in Fort Snelling Stat Park I came across quite a few meadowhawk dragonfly.Most of the meadowhawk that I saw where I believe ruby meadowhawk but there are several variety which appear to look very similar so I could be mistaken. Many of the meadowhawk where perched with their wings out and their abdomen up in the air. They do this when it is warm to minimize the amount of their body that is getting heat from the sun.

While the male meadowhawks where up at the top of the grass showing off the females where harder to find and tended to stay lower in the grass. Their yellow color also made them easier to blend into the grass then the bright red of the males. This is very similar to many bird species, such as red-winged blackbirds and cardinals, just to name a few. This is prolly natures way of protecting the female who produces the young.Dragonfly mating is very unique. Before mating can begin the male has to prepare. Male dragonfly have 2 sexual organs. Before mating the male transfers sperm from the main sexual organ at the end of the abdomen, where it is produced, to the secondary sexual organ at the base of the abdomen. The male then places the end of his abdomen on top of the females head. She grasps his abdomen with her tarsus, the end of the dragonfly foot.The female then places her sexual organ, which is located at the end of her abdomen over top of the male's secondary sexual organ to receive the sperm. The pair stay together in this tandem position and will even fly this way while mating. Once fertilized the female will lay the eggs in water or deposit them inside water foliage, depending on the type of dragonfly.I also found a white-faced meadow hawk on my trip. I did not realize that I had photographed a second type, since the males look very similar except for the white frons on the white-faced meadowhawk.

For more pictures and information on dragonfly and their mating check out this website .


Sean said...

Great Nature Pics! What kind of camera do you use?

Ecobirder said...

Thank you very much for the compliment.

I have been using a Canon 20d with a 100-400 IS lens as my primary. Unfortunately while out shooting this past weekend my 20d errored out on me, error 99 which is a generic error message. It appears as though my shutter may be shot. So for now until I decide what I am going to do I will be shooting with my wife's Canon XTI.