Observation of the Week, 09/29/2015

Fyn Kynd’s close-up of a Calico Pennant dragonfly (Celithemis elisa) has been selected as iNaturalist’s Observation of the Week.

Fyn (@fyn_kynd), an eighth grader from Searsmont, Maine, found this female specimen along the edge of a swamp on Hog Island, located in Muscongus Bay, Maine. He made the picture during the Coastal Maine Bird Studies for Teens Camp, sponsored by the Audubon Society.

When asked about his interests, the homeschooled 14-year-old said, “My favorite subjects are photography and anything in nature, whether it's mountain biking, swimming, or getting up at dawn to see migrating birds, I love it all.”

A birder at heart, Fyn says his “second loves” are butterflies and dragonflies. He’s been a nature photographer for about three years.

“I use a Canon 7D with a 400mm f/5.6 lens for my bird and dragonfly shots where I sometimes use an extension tube to let me get a little closer to my subjects,” said Fyn. “For macro I use a 50mm f/1.8 portrait lens with extension tubes.”

Celithemis elisa belongs to the order Odonata, which is divided into two suborders, Anisoptera (dragonflies) and Zygoptera (damselflies). There are approximately 407 odonate species represented in North America and >5000 worldwide.

Commonly called Pennants, Celithemis is a genus of 8 species, all native to eastern North America, where they primarily inhabit riparian ecosystems.

Because dragonflies depend on freshwater, a very at-risk ecosystem, they are often good environmental quality indicators. Dr. Viola Clausnitzer, a scientist with the IUCN’s Dragonfly Specialist Group studies dragonfly populations and their role in freshwater conservation efforts. She calls them “guardians of the watershed.”

Citizen Scientists: Keep exploring. Keep sharing.

Maybe your discovery will become an iNaturalist Observation of the Week!

By Matthew Monte


Hey, iNaturalists! See something that blows your mind? Click ‘Add to favorites’ so it can be considered for the Observation of the Week!
Posted by loarie loarie, October 31, 2015 01:05

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