11 November 2010

Is this a dragonfly?

At the Cove of Giants, late in the evening on the last day, the headless remains of a large dragonfly (Uropetala carovei) perched on the beached tree. How had it arrived there; how had it remained there? A slight breeze would have plucked it into the evening air. Is this still a dragonfly? When did it stop being a dragonfly?

I photographed it, and stood listening to the sea for a long time while the light faded.

[12 February 2010; Canon 20D, 24–105mm f4 L at 105 mm, ISO 200, 1/125 at f11]

All content © 2010 Pete McGregor


butuki said...

I, too, stopped for a long moment after looking at the photo, absorbing it, and then reading your words. That dragonfly/ husk must have hung on all through the winter to be an adult and still be there.

leonie.wise said...


i personally think nature leaves these gifts for you to find (like the apple tree presenting you with a bouquet) because you stop, notice and appreciate.

and then you share.
totally awesome.

pohanginapete said...

Miguel, I'm glad it made you think. (Our seasons are the reverse of yours, though — February's late summer here.) These are our largest dragonfly; they're impressive and often remarkably unafraid, to the extent I've had them use me as a perch. They must be fearsome for other insects.
   Good to hear from you :^)

Leonie, thank you. I love sharing these moments, particularly when they're appreciated by people like you, for whom the significance is apparent.

butuki said...

Ah, I hadn't looked at the date on the photo. I thought it was a recent image and therefore assumed winter had just finished.

Here in Japan we have a huge dragonfly called "Oni-yamma". It's striped black and yellow with a green thorax and cobalt blue eyes and often grows to around ten centimeters long. They usually fly very solwly and deliberately, with a sort of monarch-like aloofness.

pohanginapete said...

Miguel, oni-yamma sound much like these dragonflies. Ours are very large (maybe a centimetre or two shorter than oni-yamma), and yellow and black but without the cobalt-blue eyes (they must be spectacular!). Ours are sometimes described as flying slowly, but I've never thought of their flight like that; they seem to me to be strong fliers.

butuki said...

Oniyamma are probably the strongest dragonfly fliers in Japan; you can see it when they chase rivals off from their cruising areas. But most of the time they just cruise the still air, giving little revving burst with their four wings, then gliding along a ways. It doesn't matter how often I encounter them, they always manage to delight me and send a thrill through me. Sometimes I think I hear that rumbling thunderous Darth Vader sound as they pass... :vP