Comet Darner in flight- photo by John Howard
Comet Darners are a sight to behold at three inches long, these mega-insects have a cherry red abdomen. Don't wait for them to land for a photo, as they never seem to perch. John Howard shot this portrait of a darner in mid-flight in Adams County. Considered rare, they are easily distinguished from the frequently seen Common Green Darners.
All dragonflies start their lives under water as nymphs. Some larger species may spend two or three years in the larval form before they emerge from the water, split out of their "exoskeleton" or shell, and fly away. Occasionally, one may find their exuvia - the shed exoskeleton- on a reed or grass where the insect emerged.
My what big teeth and jaws you have! The Comet Darner's exuvia is readily noted by the monstrous proportions of the jaw. I have outlined the photo in blue, to show the jaw extends clear back to the 3rd leg. That's like having teeth down to your belly-button! No wonder so many science fiction monsters look like they were modeled after dragonfly larva!
Thanks to these knowledgeable guides and leaders from Ohio Odonata Society and the Batelle-Darby Metro Parks. Erik Pilgrim, Bob Glotzhober (blue shirt in fore ground), Bob Restifo, Andrew Boose, and Mac Albin. It was a wonderful weekend!