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Friday, July 27, 2012

Spot on

During the summer, a few days of south winds and warm, still conditions can bring sightings of migrant dragonflies to Bodega Head.  Today I encountered a small swarm of Spot-winged Gliders (Pantala hymenaea) feeding over lupines.  

Luckily, a few of them landed briefly in between feeding bouts.  In the photo above and below, look for the very broad hind wings with a narrow dark spot at the base.  This mark gives this species its common name.  It's relatively easy to see in these photos, but can be difficult to see in flight.

Also note the handsome markings on the abdomen, another characteristic that's much easier to see when the dragonflies are perched.

This is a relatively large-eyed, short-bodied, broad-winged species.  This genus has been documented traveling great distances, even hundreds of miles out to sea!  The broad wings aid in long-distance flights.  Species in the genus Pantala have also been called "globetrotters."

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