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Gossamer wings gather sunglow while scattering droplets of white morning light and slender grass shadow on still water.

Blue Dasher
Blue Dasher Pachydiplax longipennis male

A beguiling ballet begins with a pirouette into the common 'obelisk posture'. The tip of his abdomen will follow the arch of the sun to help lessen the heat of the day.

Eastern Amberwing male
Eastern Amberwing Perithemis tenera male

A female flashes her amber splashed wings and joins the adagio dance to cool her body.

Eastern Amberwing female
Eastern Amberwing Perithemis tenera female

Shimmering wings over water blend sparkling textures to become dragon fantasies.

Blue Dasher male
Blue Dasher Pachydiplax longipennis male

Dot-tailed Whiteface
Dot-tailed Whiteface Leucorrhinia intacta male

This fierce predator is cunningly cloaked in delicate beauty to delight our admiring eyes. He eats many times his own weight in mosquitoes and midges each day, so I praise this deadly predator of pond, meadow and garden pool.

Blue Dasher
Blue Dasher Pachydiplax longipennis male

Swift hunting dragons fold and form their bristly legs into collection baskets to scoop flying insects from the sky while in-flight. Eating while on the wing, takes 'fast-food-take-out' to a new level.

Common Pondhawk male
Eastern Pondhawk Erythemis simplicicollis male

White-faced Meadowhawk male
White-faced Meadowhawk Sympetrum obtrusum male

There are more than 5,000 known species of dragonflies that belong to the order Odonata, which means 'toothed one' in Greek. Have you not studied your Latin or Greek? me neither...

Calico Pennant male
Calico Pennant Celithemis elisa male

These two have spent most of their lives under water as roaming hungry naiads, maybe one, two or more years under water eating tadpoles, small fish and each other. Most mature dragons have only two or three months of free dragonflight to hunt insects on the wing...mate...lay eggs...and then die.

Halloween Pennants male and female
Halloween Pennant Celithemis eponina male and female

Halloween Pennant male
Halloween Pennant Celithemis eponina male

Black Saddlebags Skimmer
Black Saddlebags Skimmer Tramea lacerata

While a honeybee may beat her wings 300 times per second, the double-winged dragons need only flap theirs about 30 beats per second and may fly at speeds of over 30 miles per hour.

Common Whitetail female
Common Whitetail Skimmer Plathemis lydia female

Common Pondhawk male
Eastern Pondhawk Erythemis simplicicollis male

Common Whitetail female
Common Whitetail Skimmer Plathemis lydia female

A dragonfly has about 30,000 facets in each of those hypnotic eyes and sees almost 360 degrees around its own body.

Common Pondhawk male
Eastern Pondhawk Erythemis simplicicollis

Blue Dasher male
Blue Dasher Pachydiplax longipennis male

A male Blue Dasher threatens an intruder within his territory with a hand-stand display.

Common Pondhawk and Blue Dasher
Blue Dasher Pachydiplax longipennis male  
Eastern Pondhawk Erythemis simplicicollis male

Blue Dasher
Blue Dasher Pachydiplax longipennis male

Common Pondhawk male
Eastern Pondhawk Erythemis simplicicollis male

Widow Skimmer male
Widow Skimmer Libellula luctuosa male

Twelve-spotted Skimmer male
Twelve-spotted Skimmer Libellula pulchella male

Widow Skimmer female
Widow Skimmer Libellula luctuosa female

Common Whitetail female
Common Whitetail Skimmer Plathemis lydia female

Dragonfly fossil records date back 300 million years and some ancient dragons had wingspans of two and one-half feet.

Twelve-spotted Skimmer male
Twelve-spotted Skimmer Libellula pulchella male

Dragons mate in the 'wheel-position'.

Common Pondhawk male and female
Eastern Pondhawk Erythemis simplicicollis male and female

Metamorphosis.

Metamorphosis

Perfection.

Widow Skimmer male
Widow Skimmer Libellula luctuosa male

I want to thank my talented sister-in-law, Jean Upton, for graciously allowing me to share her remarkable collection of dragonfly photographs with this community. Thank you again, Jean, you are truely an artist when seeing through the lens of your camera.

Originally posted to Wild Notebook on Wed Jul 18, 2012 at 03:55 PM PDT.

Also republished by Backyard Science, Headwaters, DKOMA, J Town, and Badger State Progressive.

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