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Old Jun 17, 2012, 5:07 PM   #1
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Default Some Recent Insects

It's been a great season for insect life here in the hills of East Tennessee, and I've been blessed to have many opportunities to ramble among the "bugs." Here are a few sample images...

First a odonates - Here is a Spangled Skimmer (the male of the species). Most dragonflies have only one color of wing-spot (stigma), but Spangled Skimmers have two (black & white).
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Old Jun 17, 2012, 5:08 PM   #2
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Here's a close relative - the Slaty Skimmer. Male is slate blue, female (like most skimmers) has more yellow. He tends to perch and fly close to slow water, defending a small mating territory while waiting for her to arrive.
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Old Jun 17, 2012, 5:11 PM   #3
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Here are some more male/female comparisons:

A male and a female Twelve-Spotted Skimmer, and a male and female Widow Skimmer. Males need the flashier colors for territorial defense, females duller colors to avoid being eaten...
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Old Jun 17, 2012, 5:13 PM   #4
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And here are a few dragonflies from the Clubtail group.

First one of our rarest - the Cherokee Clubtail. Only found in the southern Appalachians, and only in suitable habitat. We maintain a habitat for these "bugs" at the home park, and were rewarded this year by finding dozens of them!
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Old Jun 17, 2012, 5:15 PM   #5
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And one of our biggest Clubtails - The Dragon Hunter. Most dragonflies eat small insects (mosquitoes and such). But these huge, powerful dragonflies enjoy eating butterflies and also other dragonflies!
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Old Jun 17, 2012, 5:17 PM   #6
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One more clubtail - probably one of our commonest. Black-shouldered Spinylegs have big spines on their legs - seem to help them catch and hold prey in flight. This one is just recently emerged, with very fresh colors...
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Old Jun 17, 2012, 5:21 PM   #7
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Early summer is great for butterflies too. Here are a few examples:

I spent quite some time chasing this very shy Hackberry Emperor, until he finally landed on my bicycle seat! (They do enjoy sweat, salt, etc.)
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Old Jun 17, 2012, 5:23 PM   #8
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Here's another shy butterfly who also enjoys sweaty, salty things. Northern Pearly-Eyes have "false eyes" on the back end of their wings - probably to confuse predators.
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Old Jun 17, 2012, 5:24 PM   #9
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One of our smallest summer butterflies is the Eastern Tailed Blue. I've taken plenty of photos of these (and probably posted plenty here already). But really enjoyed this pose, "in his own little green world," and thought you might enjoy it as well...
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Old Jun 17, 2012, 5:26 PM   #10
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Have been seeing only a few of another very small summer butterfly. Coral Hairstreaks especially enjoy Butterflyweed nectar, and butterflyweed has just started blooming here recently.
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