Exploring the Natural World of South Carolina: Dragonflies and Damselflies

Identifying and photographing dragonflies and damselflies was not one of my main goals during my trip to South Carolina, primarily due to my camera lens not being well suited to taking photos of small, quick moving objects at close distances. Perhaps next time I visit I will pay more attention to my macro lens. However, when an opportunity presented itself, I couldn’t help trying my luck at getting in a photo. All of my identification came after the field, as I am very inexperienced in identifying odonates. All of my identifications came from the Princeton Field Guides: Dragonflies and Damselflies of the East by Dennis Paulson (a recent and wonderful birthday present from my mother). The start of the flight season in northern South Carolina for each species was extrapolated from the information presented in this book.

Damselflies

Fragile Forktail – Start of flight time in SC: Early spring?

I have no real experience identifying damselflies, but after pouring through my field guide, I came to the conclusion that both of these specimens were Fragile Forktails due to the visible exclamation mark pattern on their thoraxes. Fragile Forktails are most often found in wetlands with abundant herbaceous plant cover.  These individuals were found in Lake Conestee swamp habitat with thick herbaceous plant cover near the boardwalks and an overall dense canopy cover.

Dragonflies

Common Whitetail – Start of flight time in SC: Late March?

Favouring streams, lakes, and other open wetlands, the males of this species I typically found flying the edges of the wet areas and landing on the adjacent boardwalks. The females I usually found a few meters from the edges of the wetlands perching on low shrubby vegetation.

Eastern Pondhawk – Start of flight time in SC: Late March?

A generalist to vegetated wetlands, the Eastern Pondhawk was the most common dragonfly I came across at the Lake Conestee Nature Park. I believe that the juvenile male I photographed is somewhere between one and three weeks old due to its incomplete colour change to the frosted blue of an adult male.

Blue Corporal – Start of flight time in SC: Late March?

This was the only species I photographed that cannot also be found in my home province of Ontario.  This species is known for perching on logs or bare ground, the ones at Edwin M. Griffin Nature Preserve having a penchant for landing on the boardwalks.

Return to the first post in this South Carolinian series on to learn more about the natural areas visited.

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4 thoughts on “Exploring the Natural World of South Carolina: Dragonflies and Damselflies

  1. Pingback: Exploring the Natural World of South Carolina: Birds Part 1 | A Walk through the Woods

  2. Pingback: Exploring the Natural World of South Carolina: Birds Part 3 | A Walk through the Woods

  3. Pingback: Exploring the Natural World of South Carolina: Birds Part 4 | A Walk through the Woods

  4. Pingback: Exploring the Natural World of South Carolina: Birds Part 5 | A Walk through the Woods

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