Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Story Postscript

The mystery is solved! My lovely little winged friends are called Libellula luctuosa and are part of a group of dragonflies known as King Skimmers.  Commonly called the “Widow Skimmer,” they are found around ponds and waterways in most of the continental United States, with the exception of the higher Rocky Mountain areas.

Early June is when these winged wonders really emerge and make their numbers known to the world.  My photos from yesterday showed a female.  The males have a dusting of white on the wings which is named “pruinose.” See photo below.

As they age, the abdomen of both sexes will become increasingly dusty-white.

The Widow Skimmer's brown-black wing patches are often compared to a widow’s black veil, thus their name.  In fact, their scientific name luctuosa means sorrowful and mournful.

Such a sad name for such a social and vivacious little creature!  This is one case where the moniker does not match the personality.  Oh, well, as Shakespeare once wrote: "a rose by any other name would smell as sweet!"

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