After some chores this morning, Eric and I decided to go on a short adventure to try to see a dragonfly I hadn't seen before — a Black Petaltail (Tanypteryx hageni). We were lucky and found a few, thanks to a heads-up and helpful hints from Alan.
There are only two species of petaltail (Family Petaluridae) in the U.S., the Black Petaltail (Tanypteryx hageni) in the West and the Gray Petaltail (Tachopteryx thoreyi) in the East. Black Petaltails range from British Columbia to California, so we're at the southern end of their distribution. They prefer wet seeps and bogs.
In the photo above, note that the eyes are separated (there's a gap between them) and that the upper abdominal appendages (at the very tip of the abdomen) are broad and rounded (similar in shape to some flower petals).
Here's another view from the side showing the strong yellow markings on both the thorax and the abdomen:
And those beautiful brown eyes:
Black Petaltails are rare in Sonoma County, only occurring at a couple of sites. It was a treat to see them! Many thanks to Alan for helping us observe them for the first time.