Damsel in distress?

May 30, 2017

On my way to Roswell, New Mexico from where I had been staying in Las Cruces I discovered this Wildlife Refuge northeast of Roswell:

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Among other things, this facility boasts the largest variety of odonates in North America, around 100 different kinds.

Whoa.

Odonates? you ask…..

Dragonflies and damselflies.

The difference? you ask…

At first I thought it was a boy/girl thing but the actual distinction lies in a physical trait other than gender. When at rest, a dragonflies wings remain perpendicular to it’s body. A damselfly, on the other hand, sweeps it’s wings back almost parallel to it’s body when at rest.

Witness, a Common Blue damselfly:

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(Photo credit: Jim Almond)

I use this particular damselfly as an example for a particular reason. Last year, when I was in northern California, I spent a few days at the Tule Lake National Wildlife Refuge and saw literally hundreds or thousands of these, or ones very similar, as I drove around that facility. These are quite small, about the length of my little finger, and the ones I saw were electric blue – very striking. I tried taking photos but they were so small that both of my cameras chose to focus on the background rather than the subject.

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I’ve been wanting to post this for the past two weeks as I have been seeing lots of dragonflies during my morning walks around a local pond, but for the life of me I couldn’t remember where in my travels I had been to this facility before. As I was combing through my Roswell photos for the next few posts – bingo, there it was.

The title of the post doesn’t mean to state or imply that damselflies are in any way endangered (indeed, the ones at Tule Lake appeared to be quite prolific). I was merely trying to come up with something to pique the reader’s interest.

Oh JohnBoy, you’re such a tease…..