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Friday, June 10, 2011
How Many Spots?
This large dragonfly with striking coloration is one of the most common species we observe at Nature Boardwalk at Lincoln Park Zoo in the summer. The species is named after the number of spots on its wings, so one might assume its name would be fairly easy to remember. It turns out it’s a bit trickier than you might think. How many spots do you see?
When I count the spots on this dragonfly’s wings, I always come up with 20, but it turns out I’m counting wrong! This dragonfly gets its name from the dark brown spots only, so it’s called a twelve-spotted skimmer.
To further complicate things, it used to be commonly called a ten-spotted skimmer. You see 10 spots if you only count the white marks and include the two white dots at the very base of the hind wings (which I always seem to overlook accidentally).
Visit Nature Boardwalk and you’ll see a multitude of dragonflies, including these with the twelve (brown) spots from which they get their name!
Nature Boardwalk at Lincoln Park Zoo
By transforming the South Pond into Nature Boardwalk, Lincoln Park Zoo has created an urban ecosystem in the heart of the city. Enjoy a virtual view as native plants and animals establish themselves in this rare refuge.
As Lincoln Park Zoo’s director of horticulture, Brian oversees the zoo’s gardens, from bud to bloom.
As coordinator of wildlife management, Mason chronicles the bugs, birds, fish, insects, mammals and more that make their homes at Nature Boardwalk.
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