Friday, December 2, 2016

A giant dragon fly

While Chook- and dog-sitting at Bellthorpe this week, I saw this amazing dragonfly. Nowhere near water, it hung under a leaf on the path through the rainforest, and if it hadn’t moved when Gretchen Evans and I walked past, I wouldn’t have noticed it, as it blended so well into the background of sticks and leaves.
Others helped with identification, as I couldn’t find a similar image on the websites I usually consult. It is the Southern Giant Darner, Austrophlebia costalis, endemic to Australia. The wingspan was about 14 cm, and the body about 12 cm long.
Al Young says that the characteristics of this species are
  • Its size – the largest in Queensland
  • The eyes are in contact
  • The leading edge of the wing has dark red numerous
    cross veins

  • U-shaped white markings on the thorax
  • Plain coloured abdomen

Apparently this species is not uncommon, and is usually seen hunting along fresh water streams.
It is not endangered in any way. I was stunned by its size, and can only imagine with awe the huge
dragonflies measuring up to 70 cm across which hunted along streams during the Carboniferous           
era, 300 million years ago.

(Article and photo by Glenda Walter)

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