Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Black Petaltail

The black petaltail dragonfly (Tanypteryx hageni) is one of only a handful of species in the family Petaluridae. This is an ancient group of dragonflies which makes them truly ancient since dragonflies themselves have a long history in the fossil record. There are only two species of this family in North America. One is eastern the other is western.

I saw this individual a couple of weeks ago just above Wishon Reservoir in eastern Fresno County (California) at an elevation of about 6,700 feet. This is near the highest point known for the species (as recorded in Sidney Dunkle's useful book Dragonflies through Binoculars). It is also further south than the known range which is the general area of the northwest.

We (Spencer, Michael and his friend Zack, and I) were camping along Little Rancheria Creek when we saw it. It was a very scenic spot surrounded by 100 foot (and higher) red firs. The place just felt primeval and was a perfect spot for such an antediluvian creature.


Jonathan said...

Impressive Dragon and an impressive photo, one can only get so lucky!

Sam Wells said...

Thanks Jon, with dragons I always seem unprepared.