Scarcely Recognisable

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I frequently concentrate so much on the process of photography that I don’t actually notice what it is I’m photographing. Maybe one day, it will become second nature enough for that to change but for now it certainly remains true.

IMG_9856_Tatty_Dragonfly There we were, pedalling slowly through the marsh heading for La Village sur la Sèvre, when a dragonfly flew aggressively after another, defending its territory. It returned and perched obligingly on its favourite sunny fence post. There are a few exceptions to my general “don’t really notice what I’m looking at” syndrome and one of those is when I’m looking at a particularly tatty specimen with only three wings instead of the usual four. Given the blue pruinosity, it looked a bit like a Black-tailed Skimmer (Orthetrum cancellatum) without a) a black tail, and b) a right forewing. How on earth it got this beaten up this early in the season, I don’t know. We continued.

IMG_9858_Scarce_Chaser Approaching la Sèvre, we crossed a bridge over a small canal where another Black-tailed-Skimmer looking critter was using a bare stick as a hunting perch. This critter actually had a black tail though rather less than I’d expect. I couldn’t approach close through the banks of stinging nettles but I snapped it anyway for the record. At least it was in good condition with a full compliment of wings.

I may have notice things like a glaringly obvious missing wing but what I had failed to see was the tell-tale dark brown triangles at the base of the hind-wings in both these specimens. The brown triangle is diagnostic of Chasers (Libellulidae). Both three-winged and four-winged specimens were chasers. Mr. Three Wings has a broader body and no black segments on the abdomen. He’s a very much worse for wear Broad-bodied Chaser (Libellula depressa). [Ed: I’d be very depressed if I were in that state, too.] The pristine second specimen with the last two segments of its abdomen black is a Scarce Chaser (Libellula fulva) and and constitutes my third new species of the trip. I’d like to find a female which apparently has a rather fetching orange coloured abdomen.

Must keep looking.

Posted in 2011 Spring Tagged with: , , , ,

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