Red and Black Dragonfly

2019 July 28

Rosie caught this small red-and-black dragonfly for me with an insect net on June 18, 2019. We had it in a cage at first until it calmed down, but then it was willing to sit on my fingertips for quite a long time while I took pictures. Comparing it with my fingers, it looks to be about an inch and a half long.


A couple of problems with holding an insect on one hand, while using the other hand to run the Canon 40D with a macro lens on manual focus: First, subjects the size of a dragonfly have to be held a couple of feet away from the lens in order to get them completely in the frame, which was something of a stretch for my arms. And second, when I wanted to move in for a closer shot, I had to hold the camera in one hand while using my index finger to run the aperture setting dial and extending my little finger to turn the focus ring on the lens. All without disturbing the dragonfly.





The mostly-black body with red marks on the thorax is kind of unusual. Most of our small dragonflies around here have more color on the abdomen. This one also has a white face, and that along with the small size and the particular pattern of black marks on the wings make me think it is either a Crimson-Winged Whiteface (Leucorrhinia glacialis), or a Canada Whiteface (Leucorrhinia patricia). Apparently the way to tell them apart is that the Canada Whiteface is “smaller”, but without one of each type to compare side by side, I can’t really say whether this one is “small” or “really small”. Looking at the range map, though, they only have a specimen of the Canada Whiteface from New Brunswick, while the Crimson-Ringed Whiteface has been found all along the Canadian border. So, just going on the probabilities, the Crimson-Ringed appears rather more likely.

One Response
  1. Carole permalink
    July 28, 2019


Comments are closed.