Friday, 24 June 2011

Query Black-lined Skimmer (Orthetrum cancellatum)

I left it too late to hunt for adders today (it was after noon and I wasn't hopeful, expecting them to be active but only deep in the undergrowth). As it was, I caught fleeting glimpses of a solus large female and a male with an infant, not managing to get my camera on any of them in time. I was about to leave when I noticed this dragonfly as it alighted on some bushes nearby. With the light perfect and the dragonfly intent on repeatedly landing, circling and landing again on successive branches, the stage was set for some dramatic images. It was only when I came to edit the pictures that I saw quite how stunningly beautiful this individual was: the intricate network of veins in its wings; the imposing compound eyes; the barbed legs; the alien mouth with multiple pincers; and the bright yellow and black tail. If I'm right about the identification (its abdomen is not as long and slim as those on the specimens in my reference books) then this would appear to be a female or immature male because the mature male has a blue abdomen with a black tip. The Black-lined Skimmer is found only in the south and east of England and is airborne between June and August. I hope you enjoy this stunning insect…

Footnote: I have now been advised that this is, in fact, a Broad-bodied Chaser (Libellula depressa), which is common only in the south of England and which is airborne from May to August. This would appear to be a female or immature male. (Thanks Frank – Tim)


Useful link: British Dragonfly Society

Canon 1Ds MkII, Canon 100-400mm IS USM lens, 1/1,000 sec, f/5.6, 400mm at ISO 400
Canon 1Ds MkII, Canon 100-400mm IS USM lens, 1/640 sec, f/5.6, 400mm at ISO 400

Canon 1Ds MkII, Canon 100-400mm IS USM lens, 1/1,000 sec, f/5.6, 400mm at ISO 400
Canon 1Ds MkII, Canon 100-400mm IS USM lens, 1/2,000 sec, f/5.6, 400mm at ISO 400

Canon 1Ds MkII, Canon 100-400mm IS USM lens, 1/1,300 sec, f/9, 400mm at ISO 800

Canon 1Ds MkII, Canon 100-400mm IS USM lens, 1/1,000 sec, f/5.6, 400mm at ISO 800



5 comments:

  1. Superb shots, it obviously wanted a spot on your blog. It's a stunning creature.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi Tim. Super images BUT of an immature male Broad-bodied Chaser (Libellula depressa). Brown patches on the wing bases are not present on a Black-tailed Skimmer where the abdomen is much thinner and longer.

    BTW I use the following ID guide that clearly shows the diffrences:
    Field Guide to the Dragonflies and Damselflies of Great Britain and Ireland – Steve Brooks, illustrated by Richard Lewington 1997 British Wildlife Publishing - ISBN 0 9531399 0 5.

    British Dragonfly Society - http://www.dragonflysoc.org.uk/species.html
    may also be of some help although it doesn't always have pics of all the immature stages.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hi Frank. Thanks so much for putting me right – the book I used only had an image of the mature male, so I think that's where I took a wrong turn. Regardless, I had a great time watching it and I'm really pleased with the shots. Thanks again.

    ReplyDelete
  4. These are super Images Tim,fantastic detail.
    Superb Macro photography,i would also like to thank you for your comments on your Blog,ref last post.
    The macro images were taken with a Samsung i6camera.
    John.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Stunning photos of a really beautiful dragonfly.

    ReplyDelete