On Golden Gossamer Wings
Everglades National Park, Florida
This photograph of a Needham's skimmer (Libellula needhami) was taken in Everglades National Park. We helped the Tropical Audubon Society lead a group of inner-city students around Anhinga Trail earlier in the day and had the afternoon to explore.
While looking for food (flying insects), males perch at the top of the plant stem, females stay at the middle of the stem.
To the novice, this dragonfly is indistinguishable from the Golden-winged Skimmer (Libellula auripennis). Their ranges are even similar: Atlantic and Gulf coastal states. While the Golden-winged Skimmer's range barely reaches into Mexico, Needham's Skimmer continues into Central America and the Caribbean. Needham's Skimmer will be found closer to the coast, possibly because Golden-winged Skimmers outcompete with them and force them out everywhere else. You won't find the two species together. There are a few subtle differences in appearance between the two (most of which were not visible in this picture). Notable, as in most cases, the larger hind leg is browner in Needham's Skimmers and blackish in Golden-winged Skimmers.
Photographic details: Canon EOS 7D camera w/ EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM lens set at 400mm. Flash was not used. At ISO 640, camera was set at f/16 on aperture priority, resulting in a shutter speed of 1/400 second.
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