Overview

Brief Summary

The Blue Dasher (Pachydiplax longipennis) is one of the best known North American skimmers (family Libellulidae). It occurs from southern Canada south through Mexico and Belize, the Bahamas and Cuba (Rosser et al. 2006).

The males are easily recognized due to the yellow-striped thorax, metallic-green eyes, mostly white face, and pale blue abdomen, often with a dark tip. Females and immatures also have a yellow-striped thorax, but the abdomen has a longitudinal yellow and brown/black pattern. The eyes are reddish brown above and blue-grey below. Females have a short, blunt abdomen, while the abdomen of juveniles is longer and thinner and tapered at the posterior end. Older females may resemble worn males as their abdomen turns blue-grey and the eyes acquire a greenish tint (Paulson 2009).

The life history and behavior of blue dashers has been well studied (Baird & May 1997, 2003, Dunham 1994, Johnson 1962, MacKinnon & May 1994, Macklin 1963, May & Baird 2003, McCauley 2010, Penn 1951, Robey 1975, Sherman 1983, Wellborn & Robinson 1986). The larvae live in still waters like ponds, marshes, swamps, and ditches, as well as slow moving streams. Blue dasher females are elusive. They oviposit among vegetation, often accompanied by a guarding male. Copulation usually occurs in flight and lasts only for a few seconds. Blue dasher males are usually very conspicuous. They spend much of their time perched on aquatic vegetation or on shrubs and trees near the breeding habitat. The wings may be folded forward to cover the eyes. In mid-summer, they often assume the obelisk posture with the abdomen raised perpendicular to the ground. From time to time, a male will dash after small flying insects, soon returning to its perch to consume the prey. Males are territorial, aggressively engaging with intruders both at feeding and at breeding sites.

  • Baird, JM and ML May. 2003. Fights at the dinner table: agonistic behavior in Pachydiplax longipennis (Odonata: Libellulidae) at feeding sites. Journal of Insect Behavior 16:189-216.
  • Baird, JM and ML May. 1997. Foraging behavior of Pachydiplax longipennis (Odonata: Libellulidae). Journal of Insect Behavior 10:655-678.
  • Dunham, M. 1994. The effect of physical characters on foraging in Pachydiplax longipennis (Burmeister) (Anisoptera: Libellulidae). Odonatologica 23:55-62.
  • Johnson, C. 1962. A study of territoriality and breeding behavior in Pachydiplax longipennis Burmeister (Odonata: Libellulidae). Southwestern Naturalist 7:191-197.
  • MacKinnon, BI and ML May. 1994. Mating habitat choice and reproductive success of Pachydiplax longipennis (Burmeister) (Anisoptera: Libellulidae). Advances in Odonatology 6:59-77.
  • Macklin, JM. 1963. Growth rate of Pachydiplax longipennis as influenced by environmental factors. Proc. N. Cent. Br. Ent. Soc. Amer. 18:138-139.
  • May, ML and JM Baird. 2002. A comparison of foraging behavior in two “percher” dragonflies, Pachydiplax longipennis and Erythemis simplicicollis (Odonata: Libellulidae). Journal of Insect Behavior 15:765-778.
  • McCauley, SJ. 2010. Body size and social dominance influence breeding dispersal in male Pachydiplax longipennis (Odonata). Ecological Entomology 35(3):377–385.
  • Paulson, D. 2011. Dragonflies and Damselflies of the East . Princeton University Press,
  • Penn, GH 1951. Seasonal variation in the adult size of Pachydiplax longipennis (Burmeister) (Odonata, Libellulidae). Annals of the Entomological Society of America 44:193-197.
  • Robey, CW. 1975. Observations on breeding behavior in Pachydiplax longipennis (Odonata: Libellulidae). Psyche 82(1):89-96.
  • Rosser, WG, N Von Ellenrieder, JA Louton. 2006. Dragonfly Genera of the New World: An Illustrated And Annotated Key to the Anisoptera. JHU Press.
  • Sherman KJ. 1983. The adaptive significance of postcopulatory mate guarding in a dragonfly Pachydiplax longipennis. Animal Behaviour 31:1107-1115.
  • Wellborn, GA and JV Robinson. 1986. Microhabitat selection as an antipredator strategy in the aquatic insect Pachydiplax longipennis Burmeister (Odonata: Libellulidae). Oecologia 71:185-189.
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Distribution

National Distribution

Canada

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

Type of Residency: Year-round

United States

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

Type of Residency: Year-round

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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Statistics of barcoding coverage: Pachydiplax longipennis

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 1
Specimens with Barcodes: 21
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Conservation

Conservation Status

National NatureServe Conservation Status

Canada

Rounded National Status Rank: N5 - Secure

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: N5 - Secure

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NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: G5 - Secure

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Wikipedia

Blue dasher

The Blue dasher (Pachydiplax longipennis) is a dragonfly of the skimmer family. It is common and widely distributed in the United States.[1]

Male on a Lotus Leaf

Mature males develop a bluish-white pruinescence on the back of the abdomen and, in western individuals, on the thorax. They display this pruinescence to other males as a threat while defending territories at the edge of the water.[2]

Mature male with blue-white abdomen and thorax

Although the species name longipennis means "long wings", the wings are not substantially longer than those of related species. Females do, however, have a short abdomen that makes the wings appear longer in comparison.[1] The blue dasher grows up to 25-43mm long. Juvenile males will show female coloration before they turn blue. Females are paired with yellow stripes on the dorsal side of the first 8 abdominal segments, the part of the body that lies between the thorax and the pelvis and encloses the stomach, intestines, liver, spleen, and pancreas; more commonly known as the belly. Females are also reported to turn blue, but at a slower rate then the males.

Life cycle: as the Blue dasher ages, the wings will wear and tear. Females will lay eggs in the aquatic vegetation. there life spam is usually a summer and three seasons.

Range of the Blue dasher: They range mostly in the United States, but have been seen in Canada. They are absent from the Dakotas, and the Rocky Mountain region. Range will continues through Mexico.

Habitat: They are found by ponds, lakes, marshes, and bogs. They can also be found in almost aywhere when there is still water. Larvae are very tolerant of wetlands with poor water quality and low dissolved-oxygen levels.

Seasons: They are mostly a summer species.

Food: Primarily tiny flying insects. Also dragonflies will eat constantly or you can call them eating machines. so next time you see a dragonfly look very close because chances are they might have a mouth full.

Reproduction After a males and a female mate, the female flies singly, without the male attached, to lay her eggs by dipping the tip of her abdomen in the water while hovering above its surface.

Ecology "The naiads live in submerged vegetation. They do not actively pursue prey but wait for it to pass by, a strategy which affords them protection from other predators. The naiads of this species can tolerate water with low oxygen content. This is used by biologists in Florida who interpret their presence as a possible indicator of low water quality. Naiads emerge as adults at night. Adults generally fly from late June to October. Hunting occurs from perches on twigs and rocks. This is the only member of this genus." http://imnh.isu.edu/DIGITALATLAS/bio/insects/drgnfly/libefam/palo/palo.htm

diet of the blue dasher they will eat just about anything, but their favorite meals are mosquito larvae. The meals change when they hatch into adults, but the insatiable appetite does not.

population size of the blue dasher Males and females of the blue dasher dragonfly's are very different. males are more conspicuous where the females are more elusive so really the population size really depends.

How does the blue dasher dragonfly protect itself they only have one thing that will protect them form any harm and that is how fast they can go. The blue dasher can fly anywhere from 18-35 mph.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Needham, James G.; Minter J. Westfall, Jr. and Michael L. May (2000). Dragonflies of North America (rev. ed.). Gainesville, FL: Scientific Publishers. pp. 762–763. ISBN 0-945417-94-2. 
  2. ^ Johnson, Clifford (1962). "A Study of Territoriality and Breeding Behavior in Pachydiplax longipennis Burmeister (Odonata:Libellulidae)". The Southwestern Naturalist (Southwestern Association of Naturalists) 7 (3/4): 191–197. doi:10.2307/3668841. JSTOR 3668841. 


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