Christmas Bells

Christmas Bells
Christmas Bells - Blandfordia nobilis

Thursday, February 12, 2009

A Dragonfly for Mr Darwin.

It is Charles Darwin's bicentenary today.

To celebrate, a wonderful Dragonfly decided to reveal itself in my garden (yard) today. From what I can track down, it is the Blue Skimmer Dragonfly (Orthetrum caledonicum). I think it is a female, but I am not sure (advice would be welcomed, please, Duncan). This species is normally found near ponds and dams. However, there are no dams or ponds within 500 metres of my place. However, the Dragonfly turned up. It was quiescent, resting on a stick. It allowed me to carry it around, on its chosen stick, without attempting to fly. The weather was cold and misty, today. I don't believe it was newly emerged (again - no ponds for the larvae to have lived in, here). Also, the tip of the front left wing is damaged slightly, so it has "done some work" already. Perhaps it is an old Dragonfly, tired and waiting to die?

Here is the full Insect, resting on a stick.
As with most of my images, click to enlarge the view.
Here is a borrowed image, with the distinctive parts of the wings labelled.
Here is a close-up of the face and eyes of my Blue Skimmer.
I particularly like the two short, sharp little "antennae"
Again, here is a borrowed image, naming the parts of the face.
Below is a close-up of the head and thorax of my Blue Skimmer.
Note the very powerful thorax structure and the strong grasping legs.
Both those "labelled" images (above) come from Martin Peterson's wonderful site on Swedish Dragonflies.

According to Martin's site, Dragonflies are creatures with an ancient lineage, having been around since before the time of the Dinosaurs, but have survived and thrived. Over those millions of years, they have evolved into some 5000 species, world wide. I mention this in honour of Mr Darwin's 200th birthday.


mick said...

Fantastic close-ups! Your macro photography is always superb.

Tyto Tony said...

Don't think too many creatures sat around for Darwin. Kill them quick and stack them high was the rule back then.

Duncan said...

Looks like an old female to me Denis, she has developed the blue pruinescence. There is a variety of pictures of the species in my gallery.

Denis Wilson said...

Thanks Duncan, Mick and Tony.
Glad for confirmation of the age and sex, Duncan. Your site seemed to mostly have males, so I was guessing about mine being a female.
Tony, you seem to have a "thing" about the early "collectors".
I know some of them were avid shooters of birds, and robbers of nests. That's how they wrote their books, and made their reputations.

Gouldiae said...

G'day Denis,
Great macro work. Nice post, full of detail as ever, and I enjoyed the Darwin reference.

Denis Wilson said...

Thanks Gouldiae.
You were kind not to refer to my "stretch" to weave Mr Darwin into the story about Dragonfly.
I was determined to get there somehow, but it only fell into place when I referred back to the Swedish Dragonfly pages, and saw the reference to their ancient lineage.
Bingo, I had my "hook".
Glad you noticed it.