Sunday, June 20, 2010

Widow Skimmer

While in Chicagoland last week, we spent some time at the Morton Arboretum in Lisle, Joan attending a workshop on sedges and me occasionally walking around. Although hot and muggy, I wanted to take advantage of the different geographical location (northern Illinois) and habitat (small lake) to photograph and identify some new dragonflies. So Friday afternoon I braved the sun, the 95 degrees, and the humidity to walk around Meadow Lake, staying close enough to the visitor center to be able to scurry back into climate control as necessary. The lake is very nice (as is the rest of the arboretum) with well maintained and labeled plants along the banks and, in some cases, in the lake. But to my surprise and disappointment, I saw only two dragonflies, and they were buzzing in a line from some distant point A to some equally distant point B and did not stop to let me examine or photograph them.

Back home Saturday, I saw only these two dragonflies, male and female widow skimmers (Libellula luctuosa). These are very common in Illinois, the male especially easily recognizable with the large dark dark and white patches on all wings. While the book would say that the male is usually found defending its territory near the water, I saw both of these in the savanna and prairie, about 200 yards from the river or nearest pond.
male widow skimmer (Libellula luctuosa)female widow skimmer (Libellula luctuosa)

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