Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Australian Emperor Dragonfly

While out at Charcoal Tank Nature Reserve, by West Wyalong, NSW last weekend, where we were catching birds as mentioned in the previous post, Tony Stokes found and pointed out a dragonfly which was perched on the trunk of a Red Ironbark while the sky was overcast and dull.

This was an adult male, identifiable as such by the pair of claspers on the end of the abdomen.
It was an Australian Emperor Dragonfly Hemianax papuensis, which is common and widespread throughout Australia, New Zealand, New Guinea and neighbouring islands. It is a large insect, about 7 cm long, with a predominantly yellow head, thorax and abdomen, striped with contrasting brown or black. The choice of a dark-barked tree for a roosting site showed off the yellow well, especially on the leading edges of its wings. While the dull sky and cool air kept it motionless, giving a chance to see the detail of the insect's intricate wing-vein structure.

Seen from an angle, the insect's aerodynamic form is perfect 

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