Sunday, November 28, 2010

Rusty Snaketail

The snaketail dragonflies are a genus, Ophiogomphus, in the family Gomphidae, or the clubtail family. Like other members of the Gomphidae family, snaketails have separated eyes but most lake the thickness at the end of their abdomen that most people think of when they think of clubtails. Their common name comes from the snake like patterns that most snaketails have on their abdomen.
Many of the snaketail dragons are fairly rare. A couple types like the St Croix and Sioux snaketailes have only been discovered in the past decade and have only been found in small numbers. The main reason is that many of the snaketail nymphs are susceptible to water pollution and contaminants. Since most burrow in the sand at the bottom of the stream or river they can only be affected by river erosion and the depositing of silt on the bottom of the river.
This particular snaketail is the rusty snaketail, Ophiogomphus rupinsulensis. This is one of the more common snaketails that does not seem to be as affected by the river conditions as many others of the genus are. It is a mature male that was perched on a rock in the rapids of the Sunrise River where it empties into the St Croix River in Wild River State Park.

7 comments:

Randy Emmitt said...

Great photos, hard to to enjoy one of these guys. Got photos of one many years ago myself.

Kim, USA said...

This is my first time to see this kind of tail. Happy Monday!
MM-cheese cake

"Lillagul" said...

Just love your photos on the dragon flies !!!

Maaike said...

really great shot!

Lawstude said...

great macrophotography. i should get a macro lens soon :)

KaHolly said...

How very interesting about the clubtails. I learned something new today....a few somethings. Thanks for the information accompanying such delightful pictures! ~karen

Jay said...

That IS an unusual looking dragonfly! And it's easy to see why it's called a 'snake tail'. Very, very pretty - and gorgeous photos as usual. :)