Friday, August 05, 2011

Twelve-Spotted Skimmer Redux

A week or so ago, a female twelve-spotted skimmer (dragonfly) posed for a picture one morning while I was doing a walkabout. It took me a while to identify her because most of the photos I found were of male twelve-spotted skimmers and, in this species, there's a pretty significance difference between the two.

Yeah, yeah, I know.... There's a pretty big difference between males and females in general. Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus. "Why can't a woman be more like a man?" "It takes a woman, all powdered and pink, to joyously clean out the drain in the sink." But dragonflies don't seem to have the trouble connecting that we humans do...

...even when their males and females look rather dissimilar. To refresh your memory, here is a female, again posing nicely for me.

Note her classy yellow racing stripe along the abdomen, the diagonal yellow beauty stripes along the sides of her thorax, the 12 crisp, dark brown spots evenly spaced out along her wings.

So who's this guy, "all powdered and blue"? It's the male twelve-spotted skimmer. Same diagonal yellow thorax stripes, same 12 crisp, dark brown wing spots, but now the abdomen is powdery blue and there are 8 matching bluish-white, rather cloudy spots added to the wings.

These were 2 of the 5 or more twelve-spotted skimmers I saw Wednesday morning (again, before the rain) at the back edge of the back 5, hunting around the mulberry tree. I can only hope that they eat grasshoppers!

Where these guys are finding water to emerge from is beyond me, but I'm glad that they are. I'm trying out different rain dances to encourage enough rain so that they have places to lay their eggs this year, too. A summer like this makes me keenly aware of the fragility of life: a month, maybe two, to find your partner, mate, and lay your eggs (in water) before you die. And if there's no water? You die anyway...and the next generation dies with you. It does us good to remember that farmers and ranchers aren't the only ones that this drought is spectacularly hard on.

No comments: