Here is another gallery from our April 2012 visit to southern Florida. This one features a selection of dragonflies. We start with a male of perhaps the commonest wetland species in the area, the Blue Dasher (Pachydiplax longipennis).
Females, besides lacking the blue (as do immature males), have a blunt, squared-off abdomen. The posture, with the wings held low and forward, is typical for the species.
This is a male Band-winged Dragonlet (Erythrodiplax umbrata), a species that is something of a south Florida speciality in the eastern United States, though it has ranged as far north as Wisconsin.
This is a female Eastern Pondhawk (Erythemis simplicicollis), one of our most beautiful dragonflies. It is also, reportedly, one of the most voracious, occasionally attacking other dragonflies - including its own species.
Pin-tailed Pondhawks (Erythemis plebeja) are tropical dragonflies that have spread through much of southern Florida since first being recorded here in 1971.
These are, apparently, female Needham's Skimmers (Libellula needhami), a common and beautiful south Florida species that is nonetheless very difficult to distinguish from the also-common Golden-winged Skimmer (L. auripennis).
These photos show one of the key differences between the two. Needham's has a largely plain thorax, while the pale area on the Golden-winged is crossed by a dark brown stripe. Ergo, these are Needham's.
Finally, the only non-libellulid dragonfly of the bunch - a Regal Darner (Coryphaeschna ingens) that I found, suspended in typical fashion, near the boardwalk of the Daggerwing Nature centre in Boca Raton.
The Regal Darner is one of the largest dragonflies in North America, reaching 10 cm in total length. The blue eyes mark this one out as a mature female; in males and immatures, the eyes are green. I am not used to having darners model for me, so this was certainly the dragonfly of the trip!