Butterfly Skimmer and Fantailed Skimmer

On my way home from work yesterday, I noticed what looked like quite a large pond half hidden by the overgrown roadside verge. It looked like a promising place for dragonflies, so I decided to investigate it this morning. As expected, it was very rich in wildlife, with lots of frogs/tadpoles and hundreds of dragonflies darting around: gin-yanma, uchiwa-yanma, chou-tombo, and many small damselflies.

Butterfly skimmers (chou-tombo) are among my favorite dragonflies. Their metallic blue wing coloration is so beautiful and they have a wonderful way of fluttering around like butterflies. They also perch nicely and are not too shy to have their photographs taken!

Rhyothemis fuliginosaRhyothemis fuliginosa

I’ve only seen fantailed skimmers (taiwan-uchiwa-yanma) once before – just last week – so it was great to see two or three individuals at this pond. They were extremely fast fliers, but luckily for me they also stopped for long periods of time, perched on dead stalks sticking up out of the water. I waded around the edge of the pond (up to my thighs in the water), and managed to sneak right up to them before they flew away. Exciting to be able to get so close!

Ictinogomphus pertinaxIctinogomphus pertinaxIctinogomphus pertinaxIctinogomphus pertinax

Although the fantailed skimmers were aggressive with each other and the blue darters (ooshiokara-tombo), they seemed to have no problems perching near the butterfly skimmers. The two species just ignored each other.

two dragonfliestwo dragonflies

Odonata: Libellulidae
Rhyothemis fuliginosa = chou-tombo (butterfly skimmer)

Odonata: Gomphidae
Ictinogomphus pertinax = taiwan-uchiwa-yanma (Taiwan fantailed skimmer)

Location: oo-ike (big pond)
Map (image)
Link to Google Map

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