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Friday, March 30, 2012

The first damsel

On 17 March 2012, I came across this damselfly near the Hole-in-the-Head/Campbell Cove.  I didn't have the right lens with me at the time, so I hope to post better photos in the future, but here are a couple of images to serve as an introduction to this attractive group of insects.

 Pacific Forktail (Ischnura cervula)

Field marks to note: very small blue postocular spots (behind the eyes), four blue dots (two on each side) on top of the thorax (between the head and the abdomen), solid blue on the sides of the thorax, mostly black abdomen with blue on segments 8 and 9 and black on the last (or 10th) abdominal segment. 

View from the side:

Pacific Forktails are common in wetlands with dense aquatic vegetation.  They are one of the first damselflies to emerge in the spring.  Freshwater wetlands are uncommon on Bodega Head, which can make finding odonates (dragonflies and damselflies) challenging.  But watch for Pacific Forktails flying among rushes in local freshwater marshes and even in wet roadside ditches (e.g., along Westshore Road).

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