Thursday, July 31, 2008

Calico Pennant

I wasn't going to post this photo, as it's not as clear as it should be. But because I also didn't know what kind of dragonfly this was, I used the photo to help identify it. And as I learned more about this Calico Pennant dragonfly, also known as an Elisa Skimmer, I decided to go ahead and run the photo anyway. This one is a male. The females are yellow where this fellow is red.

The Calico Pennant is quite widespread in some areas. Pennsylvania isn't one of those. In my region, the calico is only reported in my county and two neighboring ones. Then there's a gap of many counties, reports of it in the western part of the state and again in several counties in the eastern part of the state with more gaps in between.

Oddly, at least to me, this pattern is also repeated thoughout most of the calico pennant's range, with the exception of Ohio and New Jersey, where it's reported in almost every county. So I'm wondering, do these reports have more to do with the people reporting sightings or with the dragonfly's actual range? Doesn't it seem odd that it's found everywhere in Ohio and New Jersey but only reported sporadically elsewhere?

The calico pennant I found was over on the new pond at Roundtop, and its habitat is described as ponds and marshes, which is the typical habitat of virtually every dragonfly in the world. Nothing seems unusual or atypical about that. The new pond isn't atypically large or small and it doesn't have much in the way of marshy vegetation, like cattails, along its edges. So why would this lovely dragonfly appear to have so many gaps in its range? I suspect these alleged gaps don't really exist. I think this beauty is simply unreported or under-reported. And since now is the time the calico pennant is busy flying around, maybe this would also be a good time for people to get out there and look for it. Let's fill in a few of these gaps!


Ruth said...

There are so many dragonflies around right now. I have several pictures awaiting ID. I learn so much from other bloggers.

nina said...

I get around quite a bit--and have never seen one (ohio)
I wonder if there's something unusual about the type of area its found?
If they're that common here, I would think I would have come across at least one?

Carolyn H said...

Nina, Nothing appears unusual to me about the area where I find the calico pennant. There's not much in the way of natural pond-type vegetation around this pond--just grass. As far as I can tell, it looks like an ordinary farm pond.

Carolyn H.