San Juan Wildlife & Nature Photography
Matt Ragen

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Dragonflies (Anisoptera)

We are fortunate to have a retreat in the San Juan Islands in Puget Sound that supports a wide range of wildlife. This gives us the opportunity to snap some interesting photos.

Dragonflies are common near ponds on the San Juan Islands. Several thousand species exist in the world. The ones that we have captured in bytes are probably all green darners; these are characterized by a green thorax, blue abdomen, and clear wings. They can fly up to 35 miles per hour or hover -- even fly backwards. When they hover, they are easy to capture with a camera. It is noteworthy that they can eat up to their body weight (in smaller insects) in 30 minutes. Adult dragonflies live for at most ten weeks.

In order to see the detailed pictures, click on the thumbnail pictures in the following table.

These two dragonflies (if you look carefully, you can see both sets of wings with the second fly under the leaf) were tired of flying after getting stuck together. Dragonflies that are flying in tandem are mating.
After darting back and forth, this dragonfly is hovering over a pond. This picture clearly shows the body of the dragonfly with a mere blur for the wings.

In addition to the dragonflies, I also snapped a couple of photos of butterflies. Again, click on the thumbnail to see a full-size picture.
The butterfly in this picture was resting on some late summer flowers.
This butterfly was sitting with its wings completely spread out.

I was able to find a handful of books that appear to be related to the topic of dragonflies or butterflies.  These are some of the books that are currently available from

Children's Books:


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