Monday, April 30, 2012

Lake Martin, Louisiana, Revisited

I leave Louisiana tomorrow morning to make my way to the Dragonfly Society of the Americas annual meeting in South Carolina, but I was able to make another visit to Lake Martin a short distance outside of Lafayette. I found a few things in addition to what I saw during my last visit (see previous post) and I’ll just show those briefly since I still need to get packed tonight!

Male Slaty Skimmer (Libellula incesta). A fairly common species in the southeastern US, in my experience, but I've only seen a couple of them in Louisiana.
Male Eastern Pondhawk (Erythemis simplicicollis) devouring a male Eastern Amberwing (Perithemis tenera). I shared a photo of the same situation in my last post—those little amberwings must be a favorite of the pondhawks. This time I did see some live amberwings, but they stayed out over deeper water (see the banner at top).
Tandem pair of Orange Bluets (Enallagma signatum). I never did see these close to shore, so you have to excuse the distant shot.
The two local orange odonates sharing a perch: Eastern Ambering (Perithemis tenera) on the left and Orange Bluet (Enallagma signatum) on the right. You can see how much shorter the dragonfly is!
The exuvia of a forceptail (Aphylla), a member of the clubtail family (Gomphidae). This was by far the coolest find of the day for me—I love that crazy abdomen! I spotted this clinging to a small clump of water hyacinth several feet from shore, and I had to find a stick to pull the water hyacinth within reach (I couldn't tell how deep the water was, plus there were alligators around). Thanks to my buddy Ken Tennessen for identifying it to genus from the photo, but I'll key it to species after I return home. I see on that there are no species of Aphylla recorded from this Louisiana parish, so it'll be a new record whatever it is. Thanks to sister in-law, Trish Pritchard, for being my hand model.
The biggest gator of the day—a seven or eight footer, and the reason why I stayed out of the water!


  1. great images, fascinating content.. nice job!

  2. I was so intrigued by that cool looking exuvia, that I looked up gomphidae exuvia on the internet, where I found this website: Valerie's Austin Bug Collection at

    Next to a picture that looks remarkably like yours, it says: "The Broad-striped Forceptail [Aphylla angustifolia] has a very unique looking larva, as shown by the exuviae (molted larval skin) in the accompanying photo. The very elongate back end is an adaptation to life in soft mud. Dragonfly nymphs breath by forcing water through their bodies (and they also can jet propel by the same method) so they must have access to clear water. The long tail acts as a straw so that the nymph can hide in the mud and still breathe." How cool is that!

    Thank you for continuing to share while you're traveling. I learn something new with every one of your posts! Safe travels tomorrow.

    1. Thanks, Sandra. That species and Two-striped Forceptail (A. williamsoni) are both in the region, plus a third one—Narrow-striped Forceptail (A. protracta), has been recorded not too far away in east Texas, so I have to consider that a possibility too even though it is unknown in Louisiana. Can't wait to get home to key it out!