I’m a good one for this: when I’m fortunate enough to bump into a new dragonfly species, I concentrate most framing and focusing whilst tending glibly to assume that any similar looking dragonfly in my viewfinder is another one of those new suspects. I’m now back from Spain after three days of arduous driving and going through my shots for some well-deserved R&R.
Early in our trip, as reported in Brand New Friend, courtesy of eagle-eyed Francine, I bumped into my first ever Epaulet Skimmer (Orthetrum chrysostigma). Here, again, is that first Epaulet Skimmer.
Later on and acting on information that I might find Black Pennants (Selysiothemis nigra) in residence, we set off for the Aula Natura de la Marjal de Gandia. We had no luck with the Black Pennants but we did see several more examples of what I assumed to be more Epaulet Skimmers, though I was also thinking that they looked a little different. I think I tended to put this down to age – theirs, I mean, not mine. 😀
How wrong can could I have been? Back at home and with more time to compare features with my reference books, I’m now convinced that these were my second brand new species of the trip. The Gandia suspects did look a little waisted from the rear angle but the colour is all wrong, much more slate grey, and there’s no sign of any “epaulet”, even given that these are frequently hidden by dropped wings.
Even though the distribution map in Dijkstra/Lewington has us out of range, that’s old information and the DragonflyPix website shows the whole Iberian peninsula as being in range. These characters are the so-called Long Skimmer (Orthetrum trinacria). They are much more slate-gray in colour, the eyes are bluer and the frons yellower. The swollen S2 tends to make the abdomen look a bit pinched but it’s really quite uniformly skinny and a v. dark colour in the mature male. The pterostigmas are huge, too. One of the pictures is what I think is a maturing male showing the underlying abdominal pattern resembling the female’s as shown in Dijkstra/Lewington.
I’d better go back and correct my original incorrect post. 😯