[Odonata-l] Mistaken identity?

Netta Smith nettasmith at comcast.net
Tue Sep 27 20:39:32 PDT 2005

Hello, Steve.

I think mistaken identity happens a lot. I have seen mixed pairs of 
Aeshna darners on frequent occasions. I have the impression if a male 
Aeshna sees a female Aeshna, he will try to mate with her, no matter 
what the species. I don't have any data on Anax making similar 
attempts, and perhaps it's less likely, as Anax and Aeshna are rather 
differently colored.

I don't know if this would shed light, but I have a photo of a female 
Anax junius eating a male Aeshna constricta in Nebraska. I think the 
male was still immature, perhaps explaining why it could be caught by 
the Anax. It was quite a sight.

Dennis Paulson
Seattle, WA

On Sep 27, 2005, at 6:10 PM, Steve Hummel wrote:

> Hi all,
> I'll try sending this again, since it kept bouncing back to me.  
> Originally sent on 9/20.
> On the  afternoon of 9/20, while collecting Monarch butterflies for a 
> tagging project at the local middle school, I was walking along a dirt 
> road west of Ida Grove, IA.  There was also a large number of 
> Sympetrum corruptum along the road as well as some aeschnids.  After 
> making a futile swing at an Aeshna (a stiff south wind didn't help), I 
> heard a loud rustling of wings followed by a surprisingly load thump.  
> I turned around to see two dragonflies tangled together in the middle 
> of the road.  I quickly dropped my net over the pair, they separated 
> and flew up into the net.  As soon as they separated I noticed that 
> one was an Anax junius (a female) and the other was an Aeshna 
> constricta (a male).  I was rather surprised to see this combination.  
> Could this have been an attempt at mating by the A. constricta with a 
> very serious case of mistaken identity.  There has been discussion of 
> attempted mating between similar species in the past, but this seems 
> pretty unusual.  Has anyone else observed a similar situation?
> Steve Hummel
> Lake View, IA
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