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One of the really fun things about stalking wildlife with a camera is that you never know what you’ll encounter. One day it might be a hawk demonstrating its athletic ability, the next might reveal a truly fascinating and beautiful insect. Each day presents an opportunity to see and photograph something that is unique and different.
That was the case today. I went over to Sweetwater Wetlands armed with my “bug” lens, the 180 mm macro lens that I use to photograph insects. My intent was to find and photograph dragonflies. I had no success for a solid 1/2 hour. I saw a fair number of insects, but they were either in flight or perched out of range and very skittish when I approached them. I was beginning to think that I would be skunked when I saw this:
This is an American Rubyspot, a species of damselfly and certainly one of the most exquisite insects I’ve photographed. It is fairly large as damselflies go, about 1 1/2 inches long. What sets it apart from any damselfly I’ve photographed previously are its intensely garnet-colored wings and its matching eyes. I’ve never seen anything like this before.
This damselfly sat for quite a while in brilliant sunshine, flashing those amazing wings, and I began to wonder why it was hanging around even as I pestered it by taking photograph after photograph. Then, I discovered why.
Sitting just a few inches from the male was a female American Rubyspot, far less flamboyant, but a beauty nevertheless. I was uncertain whether I’d interrupted their date, but, whatever, I let them be after taking just a few more photos.
The American Rubyspot is a fairly common damselfly species that can be found in all of the Lower 48 states. Look for it resting on vegetation near water during periods of bright sunshine. Believe me, finding one of these amazing insects is well worth spending a little time poking around.
Photos taken with a Canon 5Diii, 180mm f3.5L Macro Lens, assisted by Canon 600EX-RT Speedlite, ISO 125, f13 @ 1/160.