Friday, March 16, 2012

Powdered Dancers (Argia moesta)...at the powder factory!

The evening sun was warm and the humidity was high as I climbed down the old deer trail to get to the rocky bank along the Little Miami River near the abandoned Peter's Cartridge Factory. The area was thick with water willow (Justicia americana), and damselflies flitted among the rocks and vegetation while cicadas pounded out their ancient insect song...


A female blue form Powdered Dancer (Argia moesta) dances among rocks and branches hidden in a thick patch of water willow (Justicia americana) along the Little Miami River. At the end of the video you can see her eating prey.

(A few people have mentioned they can't see the video. If it's not showing up for you, click here to go directly to Vimeo to see it. It's not the most exciting video ever...but during winter, it's nice to hear the water and listen to the cicadas and think about the summer dragons and damsels ahead! :-)


A male Powdered Dancer (Argia moesta) basks on rocks in the shallows along the Little Miami River near the Kings Powder Company.

(A few people have mentioned they can't see the video. If it's not showing up for you, click here to go directly to Vimeo to see it.)

Powdered Dancers get their common name from the pruinescence (powdery-looking coating) that forms on their bodies. Pruinescence (or pruinosity) appears on several type of odonates (mostly the males). It's usually powdery white, gray, or light blue. You may recognize the term as it relates to fruit--plums or grapes both develop a pruinose covering. A quick look in the glossary of "Dragonflies and Damselflies of the East," by Dennis Paulson, explains pruinosity as it relates to odonates...
"...powdery (actually waxy) bloom on odonates that exudes from cuticle and turns it light blue, gray, or white, deposited on mature individuals (more commonly males) of many species of odonates"
The Blue Dasher dragonfly in this post has the pruinose covering on its abdomen that's easy to see.

I took these videos on July 30, 2011 between 7:00 and 7:45 p.m. along the Little Miami River in Warren County. This area of the Little Miami Trail near the Powder Factory is an excellent place to watch damselflies. It's easy to get down to the rocky banks there, and massive patches of water willow can be found...both of which attract these beautiful insects.
Thanks, to Mike of "Everybody Funny" for helping me identify this damselfly and for recommending the Paulson dragonfly and damselfly book. It's awesome.

12 comments:

Kathy A. Johnson said...

What a romantic and interesting name for an insect! Interesting post, too, Kelly. So much goes on around us that we miss unless we're paying attention!

Janice K said...

Such a soft color. The ones I usually see have brighter, deeper colors. It was neat to hear the surroundings too! When I was younger I thought they were only around lakes--at least I never saw them on our farm. But I see them here in the woods all the time in the summer.

Montanagirl said...

Very nice! I always enjoy your posts, and what you're seeing.

Debra Anne of The GIPSY in the PARLOUR said...

Love the education with each wonderful group of photos!!

KAT said...

very cool
-KAT-

jyothisethu said...

beautiful...
thanks for sharing...

Shelley said...

I liked these - and its name especially!

Elaine said...

I always enjoy watching dragonflies and damselflies, especially when I think of how many mosquitoes they consume, a significant factor for us here in Alaska.

Kelly said...

...thanks, everyone. I'm relatively new to the dragon and damsel scene and love learning about each new species I see. I've loved them since I was a little kid...seeing my first at an Isaac Walton park, but I never took the time to learn all about them. Now I am!

Gillian Olson said...

Great videos, they are such dainty little creatures.

Mary Ann Gieszelmann said...

Yes, it was wonderful to hear the water moving along. Made me feel as though I were actually there!
Does your DSLR take the videos?

Mary Ann Gieszelmann said...

Yes, it was wonderful to hear the water moving along. Made me feel as though I were actually there!
Does your DSLR take the videos?