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Huge Dragonflies

 
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acerola



Joined: 13 Dec 2006
Posts: 251
Location: Hungary

PostPosted: Thu Apr 24, 2008 3:35 am    Post subject: Huge Dragonflies Reply with quote

Its about time to shoot fresh dragonflies here. I have however these pictures in stock. I always wanted to ask Erland to nail down the species. The first one is the older, it was created 2 years ago. I thought that it is a Aeshna mixta but I'm not sure. Maybe there is not enough information in the picture to specify.

Canon 20D + Canon 100mm Macro


The second one was taken in the same place, but some time later. I did not remember the scientific name I come up with. I just bumped this picture in the archive when I selected pictures to a photo competition, and it bothers me that I did not know its name.

Canon 20D + Tokina 80-200 mm

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Péter
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Harold Gough



Joined: 09 Mar 2008
Posts: 5787
Location: Reading, Berkshire, England

PostPosted: Thu Apr 24, 2008 3:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Have a look at this website:

http://www.ghmahoney.org.uk/dragonfly/dfly_pics.htm

Harold
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Erland R.N.



Joined: 07 Aug 2006
Posts: 335
Location: Kolding, Denmark

PostPosted: Thu Apr 24, 2008 3:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lovely pictures. I really like the composition of that first picture.
Maybe the 2nd could need some tweeking of colours, I'm not sure.

The first one is surely Migrant Hawker, as you indicate yourself, and it's a mature male.

The second one is a Lesser Emperior (Anax parthenope), a male too.

(wrote Anax ephippiger a minute ago, mistake)

To anyone here: you are welcome to pm me (or grab my mail adress on my website), if you would like a bit of help with dragonfly or damselfly ID.
Unless of course you choose the better option to post it in the forum Wink

Erland
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Michigan Michael



Joined: 04 Aug 2007
Posts: 193
Location: SE Mi.

PostPosted: Thu Apr 24, 2008 4:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Two beauties.
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acerola



Joined: 13 Dec 2006
Posts: 251
Location: Hungary

PostPosted: Thu Apr 24, 2008 6:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you Erland for the quick response. I found a list of the Hungarian dragonflies, but the pictures is not always the best.

Here is the list, if you are interested. Its quite a good website.
http://szitakoto.udebrecen.org/index.php?option=com_datsogallery&Itemid=15
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Péter
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Erland R.N.



Joined: 07 Aug 2006
Posts: 335
Location: Kolding, Denmark

PostPosted: Thu Apr 24, 2008 2:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I spelled the common name wrong, it's Lesser Emperor
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Roy Patience



Joined: 05 Aug 2006
Posts: 213
Location: Sourthern California

PostPosted: Fri Apr 25, 2008 12:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Péter,

These are beautiful, the detail of the wing patterns and bits of color on the bodies are amazing.

Roy
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Harold Gough



Joined: 09 Mar 2008
Posts: 5787
Location: Reading, Berkshire, England

PostPosted: Fri Apr 25, 2008 1:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It has probably been said before in this forum, although a search found no posts:

Anyone aspiring to photograph this insects should observe how individuals behave on a sunny day. They are territorial and tend to return repeatedly to one resting place, sometimes but not always a prominent twig.

If you try to approach them their excellent eyesight will detect you and they will fly away. However, if you position yourself close to where they were, they will often return so that you can get a shot. I have even found that some species quickly get accustomed to your presence, if you move only slowly, and you can get in close for close-ups. I have photographed three species (photographically) new to me in one day, in my garden, using such stealth.

This is better than the shots of dew-soaked insects beloved of amateur photographers.

One experience that was not repeated when I had a camera in my hand was when (2001) an emperor type landed on my hand and stayed there as I walked down the garden, carrying kitchen scraps to our compost heap.

Harold
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Erland R.N.



Joined: 07 Aug 2006
Posts: 335
Location: Kolding, Denmark

PostPosted: Fri Apr 25, 2008 7:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Harold, what you write is very true for the majority of dragonflies, but not for the kind of species shown here.
The species here are from the Aeshnidae family, and nearly all dragonflies in that family, will seldom perch while they behave territorialy at the reproduction site. The two species shown here will perch to rest, while other species will hardly ever perch.
And when they perch, they will not chose the same spot, but will only do so if only a very few perching spots are available. Aeshna and Anax species are fliers, meaning that they spend most of the time flying, at the reproduction site waiting for females, but also when they forage at some location.

Species from the Libellulidae family, the family of dragonflies with most species in the world, are typical perchers. They spend most of their active time perching. They forage on other insects by waiting on a perch, taking of when they see a prey passing by. They then often return to the same perch to handle the prey.
In the same manner they perch at the reproductive site at the water, waiting for females to arrive. Most of their flight from their base-perch, are towards other males (of same or other species), with the goal of defending that reproductive site. Sometimes the male will lose it's territory to an intruding male. If the density of the males get very high, the territorial behaviour may break down for some species, meaning that a single male will not defend a fixed area.

I spent 6 days on Mallorca in Spain in September '07, and while the amount of male Anax parthenope (2nd picture) was very high, I saw only a male perch twice during those days. In good weather they seem to fly restlessly for hours, and they really do too. A trick can be to find them early in the morning, but that can be some frustrating hours searching without any succes.

Erland
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Harold Gough



Joined: 09 Mar 2008
Posts: 5787
Location: Reading, Berkshire, England

PostPosted: Sun Apr 27, 2008 1:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Erland,

I was not trying to generalise, only to give a strategy for getting some improved photo-opportunities with those species which will pose for us.

Last summer I obtained shots in my garden of the male southern hawker dragonfly Aeshna cyanea and of the ruddy darter dragonfly Sympetrum sanguineum, the former on a lavender bush, the latter on the seat back of a wooden-slatted garden bench. Other species have offered themselves on other occasions, the Thames being within half a mile.

Previously, I found the four-spotted chaser Libelulla quadrimaculata sitting on vegetation on the river plain.

I had some awareness that some species or some individuals don't perch on the same spot. (This may have been the case with the ruddy darter, which, if I recall correctly, had two or three perches but I used its most frequent choice). Even so, some anticipation of where they will be found can be developed from watching where they land.

(I realise that the common names may not be international).

Harold
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