Thursday, May 8, 2008

Dragons in Love

Ecobirder started as a way to share my nature photography with others. In the past Michelle, my wife, and I have taken trips all over the US to take pictures of moose, bears, coyote, elk, whales, raptors, and other wildlife. Unfortunately jobs and expenses do not let us travel enough for me to produce a quality blog just with pictures from our travels. So I started doing more bird photography because it was a way that I could get out in my spare time with out having to travel around the country. Last summer I found a couple of other subjects that I became interested in that became an important part of the blog, butterflies and dragonflies. Unfortunately nether of these are around in Minnesota during the winter so it has been a while since I have had a good opportunity to photograph them with any variety or regularity. While I have already seen, and photographed, several types of butterflies this year I have been anxiously waiting for the dragonfly season to begin. I have seen a fair number of the larger green darner dragonflies, these are the big ones that fly south for the winter like the birds do, I even was able to photograph one hovering at the Dodge Nature Center a couple weeks ago, but most of the smaller types, that die out in the winter, are currently in their larval state.

The darners are difficult to photograph because they do not land very often.
That is why I was excited when I spotted 2 green darner dragonflies mating at the Bass Ponds last week.
In this picture the male is on the top with a blue abdomen while the female is below with a red abdomen. The reproductive organs of both sexes are located near the end of the abdomen, however the males actually have 2 sets. Sperm is produced by the reproductive organ at the back of the abdomen and then is transferred to a reproductive organ located just in front of the abdomen. The female then places her reproductive organ on the males front organ and that is where the sperm is transferred. The male then places his abdomen on top of her head which she grasps with her feet. This gives the couple stability while the mating procedure is taking place and even allows them to fly as a single unit.
I am hoping to add a lot more butterfly and dragonfly pictures soon, if the weather decides to cooperate but if you really need a dragonfly fix check out this blog that I found on Dragons and Damsels in Malaysia. It is a very good blog with a lot of great pics so I would definitely recommend checking it out.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

I miss the large numbers of Western, Variegated, and Striped Meadowhawks that were so common out west. They were so docile, I could walk right up to them with my macro lens so close that my front element was about 2 inches from their face, and they would let me shoot a whole series. I've occasionally gotten some macro shots here but so far anyway I'm mostly lucky to get 8 feet from some pesky dragonfly that won't come even close to holding still. I've seen dashers, amberwings, pondhawks, skimmers, and even baskettails here. But no meadowhawks. Of course, I mostly found them along irrigation ditches which are relatively scarce here.