Well, I guess this has become a regular feature, though I didn’t plan it that way. I’m not sure that I’ll receive sufficient good photos to sustain this on a daily basis, but we’ll see. Remember, if you have critter or plant photos, please send me high-quality ones, and, as always, I make no promises to post readers’ submissions. (Most, however, seem to appear!)
Today we have some lovely damselflies from reader/photographer Pete Moulton in Phoenix, Arizona (his notes are indented):
These are all examples of the same species of damselfly, Ischnura hastata, familiarly known as the Citrine Forktail. It’s Arizona’s smallest regularly occurring odonate, usually less than 25mm long. It’s also a rather variable critter, and these photographs show the range of variation.The orange version is an immature female. As she matures, she’ll become heavily pruinose and turn a pale blue-gray color.
The golden-yellow guy with the pale green thorax is a mature male. At the very tip of his abdomen (segment 10) you can see the dorsal process that gives Ischnura damselflies their collective common name of ‘forktail’; this process is particularly well developed in I. hastata.
For the photographers, all these were taken with a Canon EF 100-400mm L image-stabilizing lens with a +2 diopter (Canon 500D) attached to the front of it, handheld in natural light.
According to Wikipedia, the Common Chameleon (Chamaeleo chamaeleon) is the only chameleon species native to Europe. In mainland Europe, its distribution is limited to a small strip on the southern coast of Portugal and Spain. I was fortunate enough to be in Rota, Spain for a work trip this spring, and found out that the chameleon is something of a mascot there (see pictures 4 and 5 for some chameleon-themed graffiti, and a chameleon statue (with my son astride it).In an effort to find the little guys, I ventured to the local botanical garden (Jardin Botanico Celistine Mutis), which I had read was an ideal spot. My wife and I looked for 20 minutes and found nothing, then asked a woman working there for help. She quickly pointed out about five chameleons in five minutes (she gets a lot of practice I suppose). One of these was in a bush right below eye-level, and was perfect for photographing.
When it happens you’ll never see them coming.