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by Valerie

July, 2015

Blue Dasher

blue dasher

Only a few dragonfly species commonly breed in garden ponds and the blue dasher (Pachydiplax longipennis) is one of the most regular inhabitants. When we first installed our backyard ponds, this was the second species to show up, right after the larger bright red neon skimmer. The smaller blue dasher is feisty enough that it holds its own against larger competitors while guarding territories.

Dragonflies change color over a period of several days right after they molt from their aquatic larval skin. Both male and female blue dashers start off with reddish brown eyes and black and tan abdominal patterns. As they age, their eyes turn turquoise, and the males develop the blue pruinosity for which they are named. Females lay piles of eggs in aquatic vegetation. They can produce several hundred eggs in less than a minute! I've seen fish push themselves onto water lily leaves in order to gorge on the eggs a female blue dasher just laid in the shallow water at the leaf's axil.

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