The Bug Geek

Insects. Doing Science. Other awesome, geeky stuff.

Panic in the streets!


I’m leaving in less than six weeks.  SIX WEEKS.  To a land with no trees, where ice will still be melting as spring begins, over 3400km from home, where the sun never sets and mosquitoes never sleep.  Oh my fracking gawd.  I am simultaneously terrified, excited out of my mind, and consumed with anxiety by the amount of work that I still need to do before I go.  Eek!

To distract  me from my AUGH, I shall present a lovely dragonfly, my first of the season.  I actually found several of these Darners last week, swooping and hovering as they fed in a small clearing on the edge of a stand of white pine trees next to an old field.  They were still there yesterday, three of them resting together on the sunny side of a young pine, seemingly unconcerned with my presence. 

Gomphaeschna furcillata

With clear wings and subdued green/yellow, grey and brown tones, this species camouflages quite well on the lightly lichen-covered trees

I remember how much large dragonflies like this frustrated me when I was an undergrad student trying desperately to snag one or two for my Intro Ento course collection…with wrap-around eyes, and incredible dexterity in flight,  it was next to impossible to net one.  I was actually pretty surprised that these were so calm with the camera an inch or two away, considering the warmth of the day.  Maybe they were relying on their colouration, rather than speed, for protection?

11 responses to “Panic in the streets!

  1. jason May 12, 2010 at 12:59 PM

    Breathtaking images, C! Wow! That last one is especially fantastic.

    I’m surprised they let you get that close. Usually I have to photograph darners in flight or from a meter or two away. Like you, I wonder if they felt they were well camouflaged and didn’t have to worry about you. In any case, I’m glad they were so tolerant.

  2. Amber Coakley May 12, 2010 at 8:40 PM

    I agree, that last image is flawless! It is so awesome to get to look so closely and marvel at its anatomy.

    Hey, good luck with your big trip. Can’t wait to read about your experiences in the field.

    • TGIQ May 13, 2010 at 10:24 AM

      Thanks, Amber, you’re too kind 🙂

      I’m looking forward to posting about my field work and offering readers a glimpse into arctic ecosystems…it’s not every day you get that kind of opportunity!

  3. Ted C. MacRae May 13, 2010 at 1:04 AM

    Oh my freakin’ gawd – please keep us updated on your trip! 🙂

  4. dragonflywoman May 16, 2010 at 11:18 PM

    How hot was it on the day that you took these photos (which are spectacular by the way!)? Here in AZ the dragons get really lethargic during the hot part of summer days, resting in shady places trying to stay cool. I’m wondering if this might have happened with your dragonfly. They’re so lethargic here that you can get very close without problems. I even caught an Anax wiliamsonii, a species that had evaded my net for years, with a plastic bag a few years back! However, it IS 110 degrees here during the summer too, which I imagine is a tad warmer than you get in your area. 🙂

    • TGIQ May 19, 2010 at 7:31 AM

      Hmm, I think it was in the low twenties that day, not sweltering by any means, very comfy. Maybe they knew I was having a crappy week and wanted to provide me with some cooperative Dragonfly SHINY to brighten my day? 🙂

  5. allthingsbiological May 18, 2010 at 8:32 PM

    Nice pictures. The second one is downright artsy!

  6. Pingback: See ya, 2010… « Fall To Climb

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