Dancing Dragonflies

The warm weather finally arrived, and with it came multitudes of dragonflies. Biologists at Lincoln Park Zoo do regular surveys of dragonflies and damselflies at the pond at Nature Boardwalk. Last year we saw a dozen species of dragonflies at the site, and this year we’re always looking to add newcomers to the list.

So far, the common species seen at the pond are black saddlebags and red saddlebags, common green darners, twelve-spotted skimmers and calico pennants.

Calico pennants get their name from their habit of sitting on top of a plant and sticking out at a right angle with their wings outstretched, looking like a pennant fluttering in the wind. They’re identified by their wing markings and the brightly colored heart-shaped markings that go down the length of their body. In females these hearts are yellow, and in males they are red.


A female calico pennant at the pond, distinguishable by her yellow markings.

Male calico pennants have red triangles.

Males will often face away from the pond when resting to scan for females that are coming toward the pond, which is handy if you’re trying to take a photo. Come out to the boardwalk, enjoy the nice weather and see what dragonflies you can see at the pond!

Vicky Hunt

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