Fragile Forktail

As a macro photographer, whose gear requires that I get pretty personal with my subjects, I generally have a lot of problems with fast-moving, flighty damselflies. I can’t blame them for not wanting something the approximate same size as a semi truck to get within two inches of them, but it makes photos like this rare and special. This kind and patient fragile forktail damselfly (Ischnura posita) allowed me to take six photos from about three inches away before she (this is probably an immature female, based on the color) flew off to do better things.

(If you’ve ever tried to identify a damselfly, you may be familiar with the fact that damselflies come in a variety of colors, usually have a different color scheme for each gender, and may even change color as they age. Bugguide has an excellent identification key for fragile forktails here.)

Damselflies resemble dragonflies, but are smaller and narrower and have only two wings instead of four. Fragile forktails can be told from other damselflies by the divided shoulder stripes on their thoraxes, which resemble exclamation points. (The males also have two tiny projections off the end of their abdomens, from which the species gets the name “forktail”, but of course they are not visible here.) These are tiny damselflies, only about 25mm long.

The BugLady has said useful things about damselflies, including the fragile forktail, and I hereby refer you to her excellent article.

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