Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Variable Dancer

Variable Dancer
The order Odonata is divided into two suborders. There is the suborder Anisoptera, which is composed of the dragonflies, and the suborder Zygoptera, which is made up of the damselflies. So what is the difference between dragonflies and damselflies? The meaning of their suborder names tells the story. Anisoptera in Latin  translates roughly to mean "different winged" where Zygoptera translates into "same winged". The fore wings of dragonflies is a different size and shape then their hind wings while all 4 of the damselflies wings are roughly the same size and shape.
Damselflies are typically smaller then dragonflies which can make it more difficult to identify them. They are divided into three families, broadwinged damselflies, spread-winged damselflies and pond damselflies. Broad-wings and spreadwings are usually a bit larger and easier to identify. Pond damsels are kind of a catch all family and is comprised of dancers, red damsels, Aurora damsels, Eurasian and American bluets, sprites and forktails. It can be difficult to distinguish many of these species from each other unless you have them under a magnifying lens or microscope. One exception to this is the variable, or violet, dancer. The male variable dancer is the only damselfly in this area that is fully purple. The females are more difficult to distinguish as they are usually brown in color and look similar to females of other species. The variable dancer is common in the eastern two thirds of North America. Here in Minnesota they are pretty rare. They are usually only found in the eastern part of the state. I believe that when I photographed this one it might have been a county record.

7 comments:

Melanie Boudwin said...

Wow. He's beautiful, isn't he? Amazing shots! I don't know how you managed to get up so close.

Kcalpesh said...

Incredible closeups... how can you get these??

Rambling Woods said...

Great informational post with great macro detail. Thank you for linking into Nature Notes Jeff..Michelle

Jennifer Hughes said...

It's not too late to share at WW Bloggers at www.wordlesswednesdaybloggers.blogspot.com. Hope you'll join us!

cassandrasminicorner said...

Beautiful pictures specially the last one.

Stopping by from Mandarin Orange Monday- hope you can stop by.

http://www.cassandrasminicorner.com/2013/03/the-three-gold-fish.html

DeniseinVA said...

Fantastic!!! These macro shots of yours give that ant personality.

Genie Robinson said...

Oh, my goodness...look at those big eyes surrounded by such a beautiful purple. What an awesome shot. As usual, you have taught me something new about dragonflies and damselfiles. I wish I had had some teachers like you back in my college days. You present your material in such an interesting and easy to follow and understand manner. genie