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!

2 comments:

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!