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by Valerie

October, 2007

Halloween Pennant

Halloween pennant

In keeping with the holiday season, our featured animal this month is the Halloween pennant (Celithemis eponina). This dragonfly has the most colorful wings of any species in our area; females are yellow while males tend to be more orange. All members of the Odonata (dragonflies and damselflies) are predators and help to control other flying insects, such as mosquitoes, so they are considered to be very beneficial. While the Halloween pennant is quite common in some areas, such as in southern Florida, where I recently saw dozens near every body of water, here in Austin they are not so numerous. Many kinds of dragonflies have characteristic ways in which they perch, and the pennants are easy to recognize by their preference for resting horizontally and allowing their wings to blow about freely in the wind, like flags. The wide wings are usually held at various separate angles, so they almost resemble butterflies at first glance.

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