Random Insect: Blue corporal

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Female blue corporal dragonfly photographed 05/02/2014 at Zaleski State Forest near Athens, Ohio.

As “spring ephemeral” dragonflies, adult blue corporals (Odonata: Libellulidae: Ladona deplanata) can only be seen from March through May. Aquatic nymphs emerge early in the season, molt into adults, and take to the air. They complete their life cycle by mating, laying eggs, and dying before many other adult insects even get going.

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Female blue corporal dragonfly photographed 05/02/2014 at Zaleski State Forest near Athens, Ohio.

These large skimmers are found across the southeastern United States, usually flying low in woodlands near ponds and streams. Adults females lay their eggs near these bodies of water since their young require aquatic environments to survive.

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Female blue corporal dragonfly photographed 05/02/2014 at Zaleski State Forest near Athens, Ohio.

Both the nymphs and adults are predatory. Nymphs feed on aquatic invertebrates and can even overpower small vertebrates like fish. Adults feed on a variety of flying insects including mosquitoes, midges, and other flies. They capture their prey on the wing, holding and devouring it while flying. Since they eat large numbers of pestiferous insects, they’re considered beneficial to humans.

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Female blue corporal dragonfly photographed 05/02/2014 at Zaleski State Forest near Athens, Ohio.

Blue corporals get their common name from two different features. While females like this individual are colored with a drab black and brown pattern, males are colored bright blue. The “corporal” part of the name comes from the white “shoulder stripes” on the thoraxes of the females and recently-emerged adult males.

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Female blue corporal dragonfly photographed 05/02/2014 at Zaleski State Forest near Athens, Ohio.

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About Jeremy Sell

Science and nature nerd.
This entry was posted in Ecology, Entomology, Random Insect and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Random Insect: Blue corporal

  1. Mike Powell says:

    Wonderful shots, Jeremy, and fascinating information about the blue corporals.I was happy to see one of these this spring, but was not fortunate enough to be able to get up close to one, much less have it perch on my finger.

    Like

  2. Jeremy Sell says:

    I think this girl was a little sluggish, perhaps having recently emerged from her nymphal husk, or perhaps nearing her demise. It’s always enchanting to get an insect to crawl on you, though.

    Like

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