2023 · Days of The Week · Wildlife Wednesday

Eastern Pondhawk (Erythemis vesiculosa)

Female Eastern Pondhawk

Erythemis simplicicollis, the eastern pondhawk, also known as the common pondhawk, is a dragonfly of the family Libellulidae, native to the eastern two-thirds of the United States and southern Ontario and Quebec, Canada. It is a dragonfly of ponds and still waters. The species is distinguished in that the female is bright green with a banded abdomen and the mature male has a blue abdomen with a green face and green and blue thorax.

The eastern pondhawk is an athletic, swift-flying predator, able to catch damselflies and other insect prey on the wing. In between hunts, it rests on vegetation, ready to take to the air if prey comes within sight. When newly emerged, the dragonflies at first hunt away from water. After about two weeks they return to the ponds and males set up territories, chasing away rivals. The males guard the floating algal mats that make suitable egg-laying sites. Satellite males remain nearby, awaiting an opportunity to intercept females or seize territories.

Mating takes place while the dragonflies are perched on vegetation close to the water. Within one minute of mating, the female starts to lay her eggs, the male hovering nearby to guard her. She flies low over the pond, dipping her abdomen into the water and depositing her eggs at intervals. Some females mate several times during a single day. In Florida, new batches of adults are emerging throughout the summer months; the reproductive adult has a lifespan of about ten days.


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