Reader Joshua Lincoln sent us some lovely photos of damselflies; his notes are indented:
My friend Wally once said that birds are a gateway drug for dragonflies. I don’t think that it could be put any better than that.
I will include some Anisopterans (dragonflies; aniso=different ptrery=wing; the front and back wings are different in shape) next time and some Zygopterans (damselfliesl zugos=even ptery=wing; the front and back wings are essentially the same), now. All except the Argia translata are from Vermont (where I live), the A. translata is from Mission, Texas.
Familiar Bluet (Enallagma civile) female. Possibly the most widely distributed damselfly in North America. The Familiar Bluet flies until later in the season than many other damselflies.
Lilypad Forktail (Ischnura kellicotti) immature. This isn’t a great photograph, but I like this composition. I couldn’t figure out why the immature Lilypad Forktails look so different from the adults. After I saw this, I wondered no more.
Lilypad Forktail (Ischnura kellicotti) male adult. These guys become pruinose (chalky) as they get more mature. Females are orange and black.
Vesper Bluet (Enallagma vesperum) male and female vesper=evening. Another Narrow Winged damselfly. This genus Enallagma (American Bluets) is the largest genus of damselflies in North America. Typically they are blue, hence the name bluet, however this one is one of the exceptions. These guys are easy to miss as they come out mainly when the sun is going down (hence the name).
American Rubyspot (Hetarina americana) male. One of the broad-winged damselflies, Caloptyrigidae (kalos=beautiful ptery=wing). The wing attachment of this family is broader than the typical narrow or petiole-like wing attachment present in other damselflies.
While not uncommon in dragonflies, the Calopterygidae are the only damselfly family that “obelisk” (when an odonate points their abdomen towards the sun to thermoregulate). By doing this they minimize the portion of their bodies receiving a direct hit, which keeps them cooler.
Spotted Spreadwing (Lestes congener) female. One of the spreadwing family of damselflies, Lestidae (Leste=plunderer). This family holds their wings open (usually). However at night, when the weather is bad or when they’re threatened, they close their wings.
Dusky Dancer (Argia translata). One of the Narrow Winged or Pond Damsel Family of damselflies, Coenagrionidae. Members of the genus Argia (Dancers) fly in a bouncy jerky movement through the air more than bluets, forktails and other pond damsels.