[Tweeters] dragonfly to watch for

dennispaulson at comcast.net dennispaulson at comcast.net
Wed Jul 29 17:13:42 PDT 2015

Hello, tweets.

I can't be all over the state at the same time, so this is a plea to watch for Red Saddlebags, Tramea onusta , as you are out in the field in Oregon and especially Washington. This tropical and southern species has pushed northward this summer farther than ever before, reaching northern California and finally today southwestern Oregon in Curry County. It is a far-flying species with broad hindwings and can move northward on these same winds that are bringing us all our warm weather. They could be seen at water or just about anywhere else moving over the landscape.

They are good-sized members of the skimmer family (Libellulidae), comparable to those black and white Eight-spotted Skimmers, Libellula forensis, that you see at all the lakes and ponds. They are close relatives of the Black Saddlebags, Tramea lacerata , widely resident in Washington and recognizable by being all black with big black patches at the base of the hindwings. Red Saddlebags are red rather than black, with red hindwing patches--unmistakeable. You can easily find photos online if you're interested.

A photo or a specimen would be necessary to document the occurrence (first state record for WA), but I'd be interested in even a good sighting.

Oh yes, they might be more likely along the southern coast, a great place to go for shorebirds at this time of year!

Dennis Paulson

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