Friday, July 22, 2011

The State Insect of Alaska

No, the State Insect of Alaska is not the mosquito, although one wonders why at times (::slap::slap::ouch::slap::).

It is the dragonfly, in particular one named the Four-Spot Skimmer. I have not yet seen a Four-Spot Skimmer here, but I did see this dragonfly last night:

This is a Zizgag Darner, Aeshna sitchensis. (Identification by my friend, Richard Orr -- thanks, Richard!)

I found the Darner last night after he landed on a paver in the RV park here in Willow, AK. I kept walking closer and closer to him, and he didn't move. Finally I was so close I was able to put my finger on his wing and he was trapped. I thought he was probably so easy to catch because he was injured, but he seemed perfectly fine.

So I grabbed him by holding his wings together, and off he went into the rig for his close-up photography session (I did warn John that the possibility existed that "dragons would be airborne in the rig," but he didn't seem to mind). The Darner quieted down nicely after a few minutes in the fridge, and held a pose long enough for me to take these photos.

And yes, the Darner did survive his first photo session/refrigeration ordeal. I released him, and watched as he flew into the sunset to finish his dragonfly business.
Incidentally, we actually do have a sunset now, although it is still not completely dark -- there is at least a faint glow of light in the sky all night. The visible daylight is down to "only" 20 hours, 55 minutes, and we do not have a nautical or astronomical twilight. I have gotten used to sleeping with a light sky, but I still find myself staying up very late as there is no darkness "cue" to tell me to get sleepy. Good thing the Internet is always there to entertain me!


Nancy said...

Did I read correctly? You put an insect in your fridge???? And then you eat food from there??? Yuch!

O. B. Sirius said...

Yes, but they are in a little plastic container for their "cooling off period." Food is safe!