ebony jewelwing

While looking through some of my odonate photos, I came across some shots that I meant to post back in the summer. Reckon it’s better late than never, so I’ll post them today.

The image on the left (click on photos for larger view), is the face of a female Ebony Jewelwing damselfly (Calopteryx maculata). Up close, she looks little scary, don’t you think? If she was this large, you might not want to let her sit on your arm, but that’s often the case with insects as most have feeding parts that appear quite frightful.

Viewed at normal range, the Ebony Jewelwing is a splendid creature. The male has an iridescent greenish or bluish body with black wings (see above). The female is usually a darker bronzy-black with black wings and a white pseudostigma on the fronts of the wing tips (see below).

We’ve found a few small creeks where concentrations of these damselflies may be seen if you’re there at the right time. One thing these creeks have in common is that they are clean and rapidly flowing. Males are frequently found flying about with wings whirring, engaging in exciting courtship displays. A couple of summers ago, we came upon a couple of dozen males whirring up and down like miniature helicopters above a small stream beside a footbridge at Mt. Uniacke Estate in Nova Scotia. However, the largest displays we’ve seen were not far from Black Creek on the trail to the McParlan Cabin at Murphy’s Point Provincial Park here in eastern Ontario. We’ve encountered the greatest numbers at that spot around the first week in June for several years. Just another six or so months…and counting.

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5 Responses to “ebony jewelwing”

  1. robin andrea Says:

    Stunning close-up, bev. What a beautiful damselfly. Love those white markings on her wing.

  2. Wayne Says:

    We have something in common, Bev – ebony jewelwings! They’re fantastic, I think, and they’re around all the warm season long. I haven’t seen any in a month or so, though. Yours are certainly hardy.

    What I have seen are the Eastern Pondhawks – not a lot, but enough of the huge green things that it surprised me. We have had some cold nights, even frost!, and to see them flying about in a scavenging mode (as opposed to the reproductive chases) was fun.

  3. burning silo Says:

    robin – Thanks! These are a beautiful species, as are the River Jewelwings. They are both members of a small group – the Broad-winged damselflies. Quite different than the rest of the damselfly species.

    Wayne – I was thinking about your ebony jewelwings as I remembered that you posted about them. They are such delightful little odonates. Actually, these shots were taken in summer, so they aren’t still about now — I think I’ve seen this species flying from late May through into late July, except on the east coast where I’ve seen them into August. Up here, the latest dragonflies of the season are the little red Sympetrums which I have photographed flying as late as early November. I have also photographed a Canada Darner pretty late in the year a couple of times. When I was down in California, I was still seeing quite a few dragonflies in mid-October. It would be fun to be able to travel to somewhere warm to photograph insects (some day maybe it will happen!). A couple of years ago, Don was away at a convention in Arizona very early in the season and saw all kinds of beautiful dragonflies in a riparian habitat along s little stream. I was quite envious when he came home and told me about them as our dragonflies wouldn’t be flying for several weeks yet!

  4. Wayne Says:

    Bev – you know I covet your red dragonflies.

  5. burning silo Says:

    Wayne – Don saw some really brilliant red dragonflies when he was in Arizona. I think they must be Skimmers — maybe Flame Skimmers (Libellula saturata), Neon Skimmers (Libellula croceipennis), or Roseate Skimmers (Orthemis ferruginea). I would love to see them, although the male Calico Pennant (Celithemis elisa) and all of the little red Sypetrums are pretty exciting little dragonflies in their own right, and commonly seen up here.