Flora & FaunaFauna

Rare diagnostic photographs of the Wide-faced Darner Dragonfly taken by Citizen Scientist, Nora Peters.

Some spectacular images have been taken by Nora Peters (member of Pinkerton Landcare and Environment Group) while on a recent visit to Mulla Mulla Grasslands, Mt. Cottrell Road, Mt. Cottrell on 8 April 2012. Especially exciting is the image of the Wide-faced Darner Dragonfly, as according to the scientists "diagnostic photographs of this species are non-existent."

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Last Sunday (8 April 2012) I took Janet to the Bush’s Paddock and we walked around for 3hrs enjoying the wildlife, scenery and insects.

We parked down near the billabong and wandered over to the gum trees. There were quite a few Emperor Gum Moth cocoons and Longfaced Grasshoppers. Janet found a small grasshopper and I photographed it, on looking closer it was laying eggs in the soft soil!

As we progressed into the forest area I found a Native Bee (Lasioglossum lanarium) same species as found on the blue daisy of Frances. We found several Jewel Spiders, Leaf curling Spiders and a Banded Orb-weaver. We spotted two Wedgies flying low overhead, Scarlet Robin, Grey Fantails lots of Common Brown Butterflies and a few Dusky Blues.

Janet found an Emperor Gum Moth caterpillar all by itself and as I was going over to get a photo I stopped and found this beautiful Dragonfly, (only got two shots) before it flew off……….there were a few Ladybirds around and small moths, many oothecas (Praying Mantis egg sacs). On our return to the billabong we found 6 caterpillars (EGMoth) and saw a Diamond Firetail at the water’s edge accompanied by G/Fantail and W/Wagtail.
Again saw the Wedgies flying back towards Pinkerton…… a B/S Kite was hovering over the paddock….two Kestrels also over the grass paddock and I heard a B/Falcon nearby!

All-in-all had a great time but now we had the task of finding out about the Dragonfly as quite a unique looking creature!

I sent the image to Ken Walker at the Museum and he in turn sent it to a friend ‘Ian’

Nora Peters
11 April 2012

 

Citizen Scienceis a new and emerging force in Science. Traditionally, amateur naturalists have provided much of the biological information we know about animals today.  The advent of the internet and digital photography has significantly enhanced the value of and the contributions amateur naturalists can make to science – indeed, we now call such naturalists “Citizen Scientists”.

 

Recently, Nora Peters sent me an image of a dragonfly she had taken during a Pinkerton Landcare and Environment Group field day.  Nora had compared it to available dragonfly images and had made a tentative identification which she asked me to confirm.  When I cross-referenced her image with the images in the reference book “The Complete Guide to Dragonflies of Australia”, I found that I could not find a match.  I decided to ask the authors of “The Complete Guide to Dragonflies of Australia” comment on Nora’s image.  Here is their reply:

"Hello Ken,

I have been equivocating over Dendroaeschna conspersa (male) as diagnostic photographs of the species are non-existent.  Gunther has confirmed my ID.  I hope you took the specimen as the Melbourne Museum does not have any in its collection.

Regards

Ian"

Wow!  What a find and what an addition to the science of Australian Dragonflies – the first known diagnostic images for this species!

NOTE: To get the most scientific value from any naturalists’ image, please record the location and date when the image was taken.

Here is a link to the reference title: “The Complete Guide to Dragonflies of Australia” published by CSIRO: http://www.publish.csiro.au/pid/5349.htm

Dr Ken Walker
Senior Curator of Entomology
Museum Victoria

Apr 26, 2012