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Male American Rubyspot 3
This was taken along the banks of the Muskingum River in Zanesville,Ohio
These skittish insects require patience and persistence. Their heinously annoying habit of perching on swaying grass blades projecting over the water certainly presents a challenge to a photog. Every macrophotographer owes her or himself an hour or two photographing some of the loveliest creatures on Earth. What better way to spend a quiet summer afternoon?
The damselfly nymph is predacious. Usually it lies in wait for other aquatic bugs to get within range and then grabs them with its 'labium' which is a modified lower jaw. The nymph will proceed through 10 to 12 instars before becoming fully developed and ready to emerge as an adult. With each molt the nymph becomes somewhat darker in color. Finally the nymph will swim towards the shore and crawl into shoreline vegetation. While clinging to this vegetation the nymph's skin breaks along the wing case and out crawls a shortened version of the adult. Before taking flight, the new adult must pump body fluids into its abdomen and wings. Depending on the species, the adult will live for several weeks to several months before mating and dying.
The adult has four wings that fold over the back. The male of the most common variety in the interior is blue while the female is more of a slate color. For the nymph, a fairly large and bulbous head sits on a tubular shaped body. The eyes of the damsel are fairly pronounced but not as large or pronounced as the eyes of a dragonfly nymph.
February 22nd, 2011
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