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Saturday, August 11, 2018

A seaside club?

Sometimes we find dragonflies washed up on the beach, but last night I was surprised by this one:

This wasn't a species I had seen in Sonoma County yet, so I was a little confused at first.  

 Here's a view from the side showing the beautiful blue-gray colors:

And here's a close-up of the abdomen note the expanded segments at the end of the abdomen giving it a clubbed appearance:

There's a family of dragonflies known as clubtails, but species in that family have eyes that are separated.  Below you can see that the eyes of this dragonfly are large and touch in the front:

Meet the Pale-faced Clubskimmer (Brechmorhoga mendax)!

Pale-faced Clubskimmers are found in the southwestern U.S. and northern Mexico.  They prefer rocky streams with flowing water, including riffles and pools — definitely not beaches!  (The closest record I can find to Bodega Bay so far is a stretch of the Russian River in Healdsburg.)

So, how did it end up on the beach?  Was it dispersing, then blown offshore, then washed in?  Was it displaced by the inland fires and smoke?  With only one occurrence, it's impossible to know, but I'll be watching to see if any other inland species appear on the coast.

Here's a head-on view showing the pale face:

Here's one more picture for the record, showing the small amber spot at the base of the hind wings:

Have you seen a Pale-faced Clubskimmer close to the coast in Sonoma County?  If so, I'd love to hear about it!

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