Halloween Pennant

Celithemis eponinaHalloween Pennant, Celithemis eponina

 

I found this spectacular dragonfly at the edge of the 5-acre Prairie this afternoon. Halloween Pennants have always been my favorite dragonfly. I love the “Halloween” colors.

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Tiger Swallowtail

Battus philenor Tiger Swallowtail, Papilio glaucus

With ideal moisture and temperatures the prairie plants are especially lush this year. That means lots of flowers and lots of butterflies. I photographed this Eastern Tiger swallowtail feeding on Wild Bergamot this morning.

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Pipevine Swallowtails Mating

Battus philenor Pipevine Swallowtails, Battus philenor

I wasn’t sure what was waving like a flag on a grass stalk in the prairie this morning. On closer inspection I found these two Butterflies mating. That’s a first for me.

Thanks to Donna Brunet for help with the ID! I was sure this was a Spicebush Swallowtails but she pointed out that Pipevine Swallowtails have a single row of red-orange spots. Spicebush Swallowtails have 2 rows.

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Blue Dasher on a Lily Bud

Pachydiplax longipennisBlue Dasher, Pachydiplax longipennis

 

Pointing the abdomen strait up like this is called obelisking. Dragonflies do that on hot days like today. The raised abdomen reduces the surface area so there is less solar gain. I took this picture this afternoon as the Blue Dasher perched on a water lily bud.

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Eastern Pondhawk

Erythemis simplicicollisEastern Pondhawk, Erythemis simplicicollis

These are ferocious dragonflies, attacking even each other. I found this female in a draw in the middle of the prairie today.

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Clouded Sulphur

Colias philodice.Clouded Sulphur, Colias philodice.

This is one of the most common butterflies at the Prairie Garden Trust and much of America; you can even find them in Alaska. Here it is feeding on one of it’s host plants: red clover. They always seem to pose with their wings closed.

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Giant Swallowtail

Papilio cresphontesGiant Swallowtail, Papilio cresphontes

This butterfly lives up to it’s name; it’s huge! With a wingspread of over 6-inches it’s the largest butterfly in all of North America. I photographed this one yesterday on a Butterfly Weed close to the front door of of the Prairie Garden Trust visitor center.

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Blue Dasher

There are wonderful details to be seen when you get up close with a dragonfly face-to-face. This is a Blue Dasher that I photographed yesterday around one of our ponds.Pachydiplax longipennisBlue Dasher, Pachydiplax longipennis

There are wonderful details to be seen when you get up close with a dragonfly face-to-face. This is a Blue Dasher that I photographed yesterday around one of our ponds.

 

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Dragonfly Sex!

Cordulegaster obliquaArrowhead Spiketail, Cordulegaster obliqua

I found this attractive couple mating near our house last week. They are in the “wheel” formation which is typical for dragonflies. I’m told by Paul McKenzie that I was lucky to find these Arrowhead Spiketails; they have never been recorded in Callaway County before.

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Tiger Swallowtail

Papilio glaucusTiger Swallowtail, Papilio glaucus

The butterfly weeds started to bloom today and it’s easy to see how the orange flowered plant got it’s name; it’s a butterfly magnet! Here you can see a Tiger Swallowtail feeding on the flowers as they start to open.

I went to talk by Chip Taylor last year on Monarch Watch. That is the organization he founded to help butterflies. Chip emphasized the value of all milkweeds (including butterfly weeds) to help Monarchs. It seems many butterflies thrive on milkweeds. That’s the first place I go when I’m doing butterfly photography.

By-the-way, I found a Monarch caterpillar on one of the butterfly weeds too. They are coming back!

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