If the Calico Pennant were a bit bigger, it would almost certainly rank as one of the most stunning of Dragonflies. The cherry red and lacquered black diamond body design…the red saddlebags with their intricate orange veining, ten wing spots and four bright pink Pterostigma (those spots near the wing tips)…it is quite the bug!
However, it is so small, by comparison to some of the dragonflies it is likely to be found among, that it’s beauty can easily be overlooked. This specimen is only about an inch and a half long, very likely larger on your screen than it is in life.
If you will allow me to get all Odonata geeky on you for a moment, those pterostigma are interesting. They are thicker, heavier wing cells ideally placed to damp out the vibration that would otherwise set up in the wing as the dragongly glided. Without the pterostigma, both the speed and length of the possible glide would decrease by 10 to 15%. And you thought (and I thought until this morning when I looked them up) they were just little pink spots.
I have only ever seen the Calico perched up like this twice. Most of the time I find them perched only inches from the ground…on some slightly protruding grass stem.
While these were all taken along the edge of Quest Pond, my only other image of a Calico was taken on the Kennebunk Plains, literally a mile from the nearest body of water.
Canon SX40HS. Program with iContrast and –1 EV exposure compensation. 1680mm equivalent field of view (840mm optical plus 2x digital tel-converter function). 1-3) f5.8 @ 1/1000th @ ISO 250-320. 4) 1/200th @ ISO 125.
Processed in Lightroom for intensity, clarity, and sharpness.