Odes Around Us

Top Photo: Carolina saddlebags. Dragonflies and damselflies belong to an order of insect called Odonata. Dragonflies are in the suborder Anisoptera, the damsels in the suborder Zygoptera. Dragonflies usually hold their wings out to their sides when at rest. They are typically larger and bulkier than damselfies. Dragons have large compound eyes which, in many species, cover most of the head. Some species eyes only just meet at the top of the head, but still cover a large portion ofRead more


Besides the many human visitors to the Museum on the mild, blue-sky day after Thanksgiving, Autumn Meadowhawks (Sympetrum vicinum) were out in numbers. These late season dragonflies can be seen into the first half of December. While I expect to see meadowhawks at this time of year, what was remarkable is the sighting of a female Common Whitetail (Plathemis lydia) in Explore the Wild. Unfortunately I didn’t get a photo. The typical flight period for Common Whitetails is from late March to earlyRead more

What dragonfly is that? Part 2

Included in this, Part 2 of the “What Dragonfly is that?” are two dragonflies that are unmistakable. They are both common at a wide range of ponds, lakes and slow moving rivers. They are the Common Whitetail (Plathemis lydia) and the Eastern Amberwing (Perithemis tenera). The Common Whitetail (above) can hardly be ignored with its white abdomen and bold wing markings. It is found near water as well as in locations far from water. These conspicuous dragonflies tend to perchRead more

Odes Emerge from Below

Dragonflies are beginning to emerge from their watery habitats within the Wetlands. On Saturday (4/9) I saw both male and female Common Whitetails (Plathemis lydia). I also saw a large gray-brown dragonfly on the Dinosaur Trail on Tuesday (4/12) but was not able to put a name on it. If I were to bet on its identity, I’d bet Gray Petaltail (Tachopteryx thoreyi). A Gray Petaltail would be a first for the Museum, but I didn’t see it well enoughRead more