Sunday, June 5, 2011


This weekend I went out for my first big dragonfly hunt of the year. On Saturday I went down to the Murphy-Hamrahan Park Reserve down in Savage, MN. At Murphy-Hamrahan I was mostly looking to get some better hooded and blue-winged warbler pics but ended up getting quite distracted by the large number of chalk-fronted corporals and other dragons.
Today I headed up north to Wild River State Park,In my opinion Wild River is the best place to find clubtail dragons in Minnesota. This year the dragons seem to be a little behind in emerging from their larval state. I am sure it has to do with the fact that spring began a bit late this year. Odonates, dragonfly and damselfly spend a good portion of their life living in the water during their larval state. When it is finally time to fly the nymph crawls out of the water on to a rock or something and emerges from its skin.

The husk that is left behind is called an exuviae. The top photo is an example of a clubtail exuviae. If you look carefully you can see the hole that the dragonfly emerged from. Once a dragon or damsel emerges they unfurl their wings by pumping them full of hemolymph, insect blood. They then draw the blood back into their body and wait for their wings to dry. At this point they do not have much of their color and are called teneral, immature dragon\damsel. The teneral in the last two pics above is a jewelwing damselfly. Soon its thorax and abdomen will turn metallic green and its wings will change to ebony black. These pictures are ones that I took in the past but today I spotted many tenerals and exuviae most of which were clubtails.


Linda Makiej said...

Wow!! Fantastic macros!!

Genie said...

What an interesting lesson about dragonflies. I really knew very little about them until I read your commentary. The pictures are awesome and show so much detail about these interesting bits of nature. Fine photography.

Teresa said...

That is just so fascinating. It's a great lesson as well.

Stewart M said...

Hi there - great pictures.

Thought you may be interested in this mass dragonfly hatch I found a few months ago- the pictures are at the bottom of this post.

2sweetnsaxy said...

Awesome! I've only ever seen orange ones.