|Spatterdock Darner Dragonfly (Aeshna mutata)
Watercolor and colored pencil
The endangered Spattterdock Darner is known for its bright cerulean blue eyes and thorasic stripes. It can grow to three inches in length with a wingspan of close to four inches. Spatterdocks first appear in late May and can be seen flying throughout the breeding season until early July. Feeding and breeding are both done on the wing, and interlocked pairs can often be seen flying high in air during coupling. Both the male and female will breed with more than one mate during a season. The eggs, sometimes in the hundreds, are laid on the stems of the Spatterdock plant or other emergent vegetation.
Favored habitats for this species are small and fragile wetlands, many of which have been destroyed or degraded in recent decades. Habitat destruction through pollution and land development have likely caused its endangered status and made it one of the rarest members of its genus in Massachusetts.
One success story for the Spatterdock Darner was the recent court decision to protect the Massachusetts Military Reservation for water and wildlife. The MMR, located between Buzzard Bay and Falmouth on Cape Cod is one of the largest and least fragmented areas of wildlife habitat on the Cape and is home to over two dozen threatened or endangered plant, bird, reptile and insect species, including the Spatterdock Darner.
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