Blue Dragonfly Notes

The blue on these mature dragonflies (I believe the top image is a Blue Dasher and the next is a Great Blue Skimmer) is called “pruinescence”. Often described as a powdery accumulation of pigment, the phenomenon of pruinescence is not confined to dragonflies. (I couldn’t find a definitive resource for a link, but this Wikipedia article contains some interesting observations.)

I tend to gravitate toward pruinose dragonflies, when I’m out with my camera. I like how the pale coloration exposes seams and joints, highlighting the intricate anatomy of these amazing insects.

(This male Great Blue Skimmer was a very patient subject. Most of my dragonfly photos are taken using the zoom feature, but he let me experiment with the macro setting, which produced the next image.)

While coloration and wing patterns catch my attention first, wounds hold my attention. This female Great Blue Skimmer has a rather typical set of wing tears, but the wounds on her face are unusual. I wondered if the loss of symmetry made her less attractive, in dragonfly terms.

One final note (completely off-topic):  I’m happy to report that the summer’s first cicadas arrived this week.

9 thoughts on “Blue Dragonfly Notes

  1. bellesogni July 22, 2012 / 9:21 PM

    I remember as a kid at my grandmother’s house, we’d watch the “sewing needles” flashing around her pond. They were so pretty – and fast! We never could catch one, but now I’m glad we didn’t.

    • Rae Spencer July 22, 2012 / 10:26 PM

      I remember trying to catch them, too! They were so tempting, with all of their glitter and sparkle…

  2. Sharon Poch July 22, 2012 / 9:28 PM

    I never tire of these exquisite creatures with their bejeweled bodies and intricate wing patterns. Thanks for the info on “pruinescence”–fascinating.
    Shar

  3. Angela July 23, 2012 / 10:33 AM

    Absolutely gorgeous pictures, Rae. Your place certainly is abloom with wild things. 🙂

  4. lynnwyvill July 23, 2012 / 5:03 PM

    These are awesome photos! Thanks for the information about these beautiful creatures. I really enjoy your blog.

    • Rae Spencer July 23, 2012 / 10:44 PM

      Thank you! I worry, sometimes, that readers will get tired of seeing dragonfly photos long before I get tired of posting them…

      • lynnwyvill July 24, 2012 / 6:39 AM

        I can’t speak for other readers, but I love these amazing dragonfly photos, and never tire of looking at them. You are giving me an up close look that I’ve never had before. I marvel at your skill at capturing amazing detail.

  5. bardessdmdenton July 25, 2012 / 1:08 PM

    I adore this photographs of dragonflies! So glad you shared.

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