Saturday, 6 June 2009

Dragonflies at Charca de Suárez, Granada Province.

Two more new species.


After the RAM sea bird survey Juan and I went to Charca de Suárez near Motril, the wind was strong but several species of Dragonfly were seen. The first was a nice male Blue or Common Emperor (Anax imperator) which was sheltering from the winds in some vegetation, a common species at this site and on most areas of water with some marginal plants. It is the largest and most powerful flying of the Odonata seen in this region and some territorial battles between the males are to the death. The Emperor was quickly followed by Male and female (in photo) Violet Dropwing (Trithemis annulata) hunting from cut off stalks of Fennel growing along the walk ways around the reserve. This species gets its Dropwing name from the position it takes at rest with the wings thrust forward and down and the abdomen held high. Several male Broad Scarlet's (Crocothemis erythraea), were seen and what I first thought was a female of the same species was the next insect to be photographed, later it was reidentifed as a female Keeled Skimmer (Orthetrum coerulescens) the first of two new dragonfly species seen today. I then notice an all black insect, with a very active flight, skimming low through the vegetation in a drier area of the marsh. I again managed to get shots of an Imm male but this was enough to identify it as a Black Percher (Diplacodes lefebvrii), the second new species for me. The male was all black which means it was probably quite an old insect, younger males have some yellow markings along the side of the abdomen. It has a restricted range still Iberia, mainly coastal in the south but is expected to expand north. Iberian Bluetail (Ischnura graellsii) and Small Red-eyed Damselfly (Erythromma viridulum) were also seen along with Migrant Hawker (Aeshna mixta) all of which avoided the camera completely.
Photographs from the top: Blue or Common Emperor (Anax imperator), Violet Dropwing (Trithemis annulata), Keeled Skimmer (Orthetrum coerulescens) and Black Percher (Diplacodes lefebvrii).

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