Nature Canada

Common Pondhawk Dragonfly

This blog post was written by contributing guest blogger Kim Willoughby.

Nature Canada’s featured species for June is the Erythemis simplicollis, the Common Pondhawk Dragonfly. It’s also known as the Eastern Pondhawk.

What they look like
The adult Common Pondhawk is about 4 cm in length, has a green face, and four clear wings with small marks at each tip. Females and juvenile males are vividly green with black abdomens and green dorsolateral spots. Males, as they mature, become powdery blue.

A common Pondhawk in early morning light, by Peter Ferguson.

Where you can find them in Canada
Widespread throughout eastern North America, these dragonflies are often found at lakes, ponds, lazy streams and sometimes in meadows and wet grassy ditches in Ontario and Quebec. Remember to look behind you when you’re walking this summer. They occasionally follow people or animals whose movements flush swarms of insects out of the grass.

What they eat
The Common Pondhawk has a voracious appetite and will hunt anything its size or smaller – damselflies, butterflies, moths, midges, mayflies, mosquitoes – even other dragonflies.

Interesting behavior to watch for
Squadrons of males will perform impressive aeronautical feats over waterways. You can find them flying low over the water surface, often flying in a line formation, with the lead eventually dropping away and the next one in line surging to take the front position.

What makes dragonflies so cool
They’re one of nature’s most remarkably nimble, efficient and powerful flying machines. They dash, they hover, they dive. They even cross oceans. At an estimated top speed of 60 km/hour, they accomplish aerial stunts that rival humanity’s best fighter and helicopter pilots. Except that they see so much better than human pilots. With more than 30,000 lenses in their eyes, dragonflies can see everywhere: They have no blind spots. Imagine that!

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