The Thin-leaved Coneflowers are in full glory in our garden. After a summer of few insects, bees, bee mimics, and bee flys are busy. Today we had a surprise visitor – a Great Spreadwing (Archilestes grandis) – flitting around near the mailbox. It is 95 degrees in the shade and he still chose this sunny location.
He (it is a male) was enormous compared to the little damselflies we rarely see in the garden. The only water on the ground in our neighborhood is the birdbath and a small kidney shaped pool in our backyard. There is no place for them to breed so he must be travelling through.
We watched for awhile as he moved from perch to perch. Some were close to the ground and others on the open branches of the coneflowers. The yellow stripe on his side, green stripes on his back (thorax), turquoise eyes, and white clasper area are diagnostic.
Great Spreadwings are mainly a western and southern species. Ed Lam in Damselflies of the Northeast (2004) says that they recent immigrants from the southwest. Bob DuBois did not include them in Damselflies of the North Woods (2005).
The 100mm close-up lens was occupied making a timelapse series of a Ten-petal Mentzelia blossom opening, so the 70-200 with a 1.4x teleconverter was grabbed, put on a body and tripod, and we both hunted him. We found him close to where he was first seen and made several images before he retired to less photogenic spots. Then we headed back indoors to cool down.