Blue Dasher Dragonflies - male and female

I saw several of the blue dasher dragonflies today -- likely male as the female has different coloration.

I saw several of the blue dasher dragonflies today -- likely male as the female has different coloration.

The blue dasher (Pachydiplax longipennis) is a common dragonfly of the skimmer family and widely distributed in the United States and Canada.   Mature males have a blue-white abdomen and thorax.  Although the species name longipennis means "long wings", the wings are not substantially longer than those of related species. Females do, however, have a short abdomen that makes the wings appear longer in comparison.  Juvenile males will show female coloration before they turn blue. Females are paired with yellow stripes on the dorsal side of the first 8 abdominal segments. Females are also reported to turn blue, but at a slower rate then the males.

As the blue dasher ages, the wings will wear and tear. Females will lay eggs in the aquatic vegetation. Their life span is usually a year.  These dragonflies primarily eat tiny flying insects and are important for mosquito control.

After a males and a female mate, the female flies singly, without the male attached, to lay her eggs by dipping the tip of her abdomen in the water while hovering above its surface.  The naiads live in submerged vegetation. They do not actively pursue prey but wait for it to pass by, a strategy which affords them protection from other predators. They will eat just about anything, but their favorite meals are mosquito larvae. (facts from Wikipedia)

Female laying her eggs on water on a lily pad.  Note the extra long wings (the species Latin name means long winged because of this attribute of the female).  When I saw her there were still fly-bys by several adult male blue dashers and what looked like a juvenile -- much smaller blue dasher. One benefit of paying more attention to the natural world around me.  I'm not sure I would have noticed this female otherwise. -- Merikay

Female laying her eggs on water on a lily pad.  Note the extra long wings (the species Latin name means long winged because of this attribute of the female).  When I saw her there were still fly-bys by several adult male blue dashers and what looked like a juvenile -- much smaller blue dasher. One benefit of paying more attention to the natural world around me.  I'm not sure I would have noticed this female otherwise. -- Merikay

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