Sunday, March 30, 2008

The Dragonflies and Damselflies of the Olentangy River

Megan and I live near the Olentangy River, exactly 890 feet from the river, as measured using Google Maps. Over the past summer, I was photographing damselflies and dragonflies almost every day. What I have presented here is a timeline of the dragons along the river. Each image represents the first encounter I had with each species. The common name, scientific name, and date of first observation is given below each image. A link is provided to a range map at the Ohio Odonata Society Website. Also, I have uploaded the images in full resolution- clicking each image will link to a higher resolution version. I'm most interested in getting people's feedback on the rapids clubtail and the arrow clubtail.

Female ebony jewelwing, Calopteryx maculata.
May 28, 2007.

Stream bluet, Enallagma exsulans. June 3, 2007.

Powdered dancer, Argia moesta. June 3, 2007.

Blue dasher, Pachydiplax longipennis June 6, 2007.

I'm not exactly sure what this one is. It could be a blue morph female powdered dancer, or a female blue-fronted dancer. June 6, 2007.

Great blue skimmer, Libellula vibrans, June 9, 2007.

Possibly a rapids clubtail, Gomphus quadricolor. That is what was teased out at Bug Go here to see the pictures and comments there. June 9, 2007.

Blue-fronted dancer, Argia apicalis, June 16, 2007.

Blue-ringed dancer, Argia sedula, June 16, 2007.

American rubyspot, Hetaerina americana, June 16, 2007.

Eastern forktail, Ischnura verticalis, July 15, 2007.

Violet dancer, Argia fumipennis violacea, July 15 2007.

Eastern amberwing, Perithemis tenera, July 15, 2007.

Eastern Pondhawk,Erythemis simpliciollis (and two perilously close powdered dancers!) July 15, 2007.

I really not sure what this one is. My guess is that it is a female green darner laying eggs, although the riverine habitat seems somewhat strange. Any thoughts on this one? July 15, 2007.

Dusky dancer, Argia translata, July 15, 2007.

Twelve-spotted skimmer, Libellula pulchella, July 24, 2007.

Widow skimmer, Libellula luctuosa, July 24, 2007.

Blue-tipped dancer, Argia tibialis, July 27, 2007.

Fragile forktail, Ischnura posita, August 4, 2007.

Black-shouldered spinyleg, Dromogomphus spinosus, August 26, 2007.

Arrow clubtail, Stylurus spiniceps? September 21, 2007.

Fawn darner, Boyeria vinosa, September 30, 2007.

And finally, while I was watching our fish swim in our water garden, this female darner, which I'm guessing is a shadow darner, came to visit our backyard.

Shadow darner, Aeshna umbrosa, October 26, 2007.


  1. Beautiful! You've done a great job identifying all of them too. Every summer, I have to pull out my books or hit Google to find the names. They are all great pictures, but the third one with the three of them against the wavy water is really artistic. I love the motion in that one.

  2. Linda,

    Thank you. I do have better photos of several of these species, but to be scientific in this case, I went with the first image I have of each species in 2007.

    I got to know most of these dragons like I know my friends, and fellow bloggers! I was seeing several of these species every day. At the end of the season, it was really quite sad to see them go. But they didn't go anywhere, as there young are in the water, waiting to hatch this June, and I can't wait.

    The blue dasher photo that you mentioned is in our back yard. We had several males try to claim our water garden, and their presence made for several fantastic photographic opportunities.



  3. amazing photos Tom! Little early for Dragonflies . . . but shouldn't be long before Green Darners start showing up. I think I had my first one last year early April! Great Photos BTW:

  4. I never really noticed there were so many varieties of these guys, great shots.

  5. Amazing pictures and information, thanks for leaving me a comment so that I could find you. I'll be reading and learning!

  6. Such lovely colors! I love the 2nd picture the most, I think.

  7. Nice shots of dragonflies! I haven't been able to get close enough to one with my macro lens to get a shot.

  8. Thanks, Tom. I'm looking forward to summer and seeing all the dragons, damsels, and butterflies again.

  9. Tom these are great photos. I recognize some of them. I always enjoyed watching them and now with my longer lens I can actually snap few photos too. Thanks for sharing, great post. Anna :)

  10. Tom- I really didn't explain why I did this post. Since I went to the Ohio Odonata Society meeting this past Saturday, I really got pumped for the upcoming dragon season, and I wanted to document everything that I saw on the Olentangy in 2007. I sent this post to several experts as well to get their feedback.

    Corey- Maine is a very interesting place-dragonfly-wise. There are several species up your way that are really rare here in Ohio but much more common in Maine.

    Beth- Thank you for stopping by! I love Maine BTW...

    Lana- Thank you. These creatures are incredibly colorful and highly under appreciated!

    Cale- Thanks, Like I said, I've got better shots, but this series documents the first sighting of each species. Dragonfly photography is fun. Although I mainly do it because I'm interested in the biology of the organism not so much the need to get "the perfect shot"

    Anna- Stay with me through the summer, I'll be posting many many dragon shots, I would presume!


  11. Very well done, Tom. You are very good at capturing them so still. In your shots you can truly appreciate their beauty. Nicely done!

  12. These are beautiful photos, much more photos than I've ever got of them. I, like sandpiper, have to use google to find the names, I always wish I knew what they were when I post them on my blog :)


    David Webb

  13. Tom: The dragonflies will land on my poles as I am fishing. I never knew we had so may different types in Ohio. Very informative blog and great pictures.

  14. Beautiful Photos!!...I live in Ohio...we have many dragonflies and damselflies that I photograph around our pond...I see a few that I have on your post...I can sit for hours and watch