June 2, 2021
It's time for today's edition of #BenInNature presented by our friends at Carter Bank & Trust!
For my money, the ebony jewelwing (Calopteryx maculata) is one of the most beautiful insects you'll find here in Virginia. The pictured ebony jewelwing is a male; the males have metallic green bodies (which can sometimes appear blue depending on the light) and jet-black wings, while the females have slightly duller bodies and smoky-colored wings with a white spot at the end of each wing.
When you see an ebony jewelwing fluttering by, it's easy to mistake it for a butterfly. However, these are actually damselflies, which belong to the same order as dragonflies. Just like dragonflies, they're aerial predators, and when you see them fluttering around, they're likely snatching tiny insects such as gnats out of the air!
Ebony jewelwings can be found in the eastern two-thirds of the U.S. and the eastern half of Canada, and you're most likely to find them near streams and slow-moving rivers. In the southern portion of their range, the adults are on the wing from March to October. It's well worth going out of your way to get a closer look at these striking insects!
Social distancing can be difficult, but it presents a great opportunity to become reacquainted with nature. In this series of posts, Administrator of Science Ben Williams ventures outdoors to record a snapshot of the unique sights that can be found in the natural world. New updates are posted Monday - Friday, with previous posts highlighted on the weekends. This series of posts is made possible thanks to the support of VMNH Corporate Partner Carter Bank & Trust (www.cbtcares.com).
NATURE PHOTO IDENTIFICATIONS
If you discover something in nature that you would like help identifying, be sure to message us right here on Facebook with a picture (please include location and date of picture) and we'll have our experts help you identify it!