For some reason, I have always been fascinated by dragonflies and never realized that they have been buzzing the planet for more than 200 million years until I was doing some Internet research for this post. They emerged sometime during or just after the mass extinctions separating the Triassic and Jurassic periods. “They are, truly, prehistoric and when seen sitting on the equally prehistoric horsetail (Equisetum hyemale) – a reed that dates back nearly 350 million years, you're on the verge of a time warp”. Often quite colorful, their exquisite beauty and fairy-like appearance can easily capture the eye.
Dragonflies and damselflies belong to the insect order Odonata. As in other insects, their body is divided into three regions: head, thorax and abdomen. The hemispherical or dumbbell-shaped head...has large compound eyes which cover the entire sides, and the antennae are small and setaceous. The Dragonfly dines on small gnats, mosquitoes, black flies, as well as deer and horse flies. In fact, in has been said, horses and other warm blooded mammels that live in the local forest socialize with dragonflies on a first name basis - they are that beneficial.
Unfortunately, I don’t have a macro lens and have just been making handheld captures while “hiking by” without using a tripod or making any special camera settings. In addition, most of the time they are so far away, that after capture with my telephoto lens, the final picture quality is quite poor after cropping. Until recently, I was only able to identify one of these creatures (Figs. 02 & 03), the [Flame Skimmer Dragonfly - (Libellula saturata)]. Then I came across biologist Bruce Lund. After emailing him he supplied info on each of these specimen's. The first dragonfly picture (Fig. 01) is a Variegated Meadowhawk (Sympetrum corruptum). The last picture (Fig. 04) is a Meadowhawk (Sympetrum sp).