Calico Pennant Dragonfly

2018 August 11

I barely spotted this little black-and-yellow dragonfly sitting on the ground at Camp Nesbit on June 10, 2018. There it is, right in the middle of the picture. See it?


OK, that was just my contingency photo in case it spooked and flew off. It did let me move in closer, though, and I got some better pictures.



Surprisingly close, in fact, although it did fly away eventually.


The most distinctive feature was the dark patches on the hindwings, with the wing veins yellow. I had a lot of trouble finding this online, but then when I looked at our copy of the “Stokes Beginners Guide to Dragonflies”, well . . . there it was, right on the front cover! That got me a name, the Calico Pennant, Ceilthemis elisa, so now it is easy to find.

Turns out that this one is a female. The males have similar patterns, but in the places where this one is yellow, the males are red. They tend to hunt in fields near ponds, which pretty much describes Camp Nesbit.

Like other dragonflies, they breed in water and so they are most common near lakes, ponds, and streams. There were a lot of other dragonflies at Camp Nesbit, which is not surprising seeing as how it is on a lake, but this is the only one that held still long enough for me to photograph. I think that the others were the same or related species. They seemed to be hanging out in the grass, and as I walked along they kept flushing up and flying away in significant numbers.

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