Wednesday, June 10, 2015

A visit with an Ebony Jewelwing Damselfly

We recently had a visitor at the water feature in our courtyard and, at first glance, I thought it was a butterfly. But upon closer inspection, I saw that it was a brightly-colored creature that resembled a dragonfly. 

I grabbed my cameras and took about 500 shots of the little guy, who was fluttering in the shade amongst our azaleas. As I watched him through the lens of my camera, I became more and more curious about what kind of insect he was, and thanks to Google images and this website (…/ecology/ebony_jewelwing.htm), I discovered that he is an Ebony Jewelwing Damselfly.

Damselflies are closely related to dragonflies and they look very much alike. The easiest way to tell dragonflies and damselflies apart is to look at the wings. Dragonfly wings stick straight out from the body when the dragonfly is resting. Damselfly wings usually fold back above the body.

I determined that ours is a male because, according to the article about Jewelwings, male Jewelwings are larger and have a big black head, green body, and black wings. Females also have black wings, but they have a lighter colored body. They also have a white spot on their wings.

Out of close to 500 pictures, I managed to find a few I think are worthy of sharing. The next time you are in a shady spot in your yard, you might be surprised to find that you have a damselfly, too!