Can you identify this dragonfly?
Yesterday morning was picture perfect in the garden.
The cloudless sky was brilliant blue, the sun was just warming and even though it seemed calm, there was plenty of activity.
I stood quietly and watched bees of all sizes buzzing around the bright purple Bergamot, heard the squirrels running along the fence and caught a glimpse of a dragonfly perched motionless on a dried sunflower stem.
I watched that dragonfly for many minutes and it never moved. The sunflower swayed gently in the breeze, but its wings never flapped, its legs never changed position.
I admired its translucent wings and how they changed color depending on the light. I watched it for many minutes before I moved on, but it lingered still.
Later I consulted my Field Guide to Insects & Spiders and learned a bit more about dragonflies and damselflies (Order Odonata). Because my garden friend’s wings were held outstretched during rest, I think it was a dragonfly. Damselflies extend theirs vertically to the rear.
Unlike other insects, dragonflies and damselflies can move their wings independently and can fly both forward and backward with remarkable speed. Their long, graceful legs are unsuitable for walking and are used for holding their insect prey captured in flight.
“Fossils resembling dragonflies and damselflies date back 300 million years,” says the Audubon Society guide. There are 5,000 species in the world; 450 in North America.
None of the color photos in my field guide match my dragonfly, but I’d love to know more about it. If you recognize this species, would you please post information here?