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Summer is high season for these aerial acrobats.

Flame Skimmer Dragonfly

Posted July 18, 2013. Image courtesy of Ralph Charlton, Invertebrate Curator at ABQ BioPark.

The flame skimmer (Libellula saturata) is one of the most vibrant dragonflies at the Botanic Garden’s Dragonfly Sanctuary Pond. The bright orange males are unmistakable as they patrol the pond and search for mates and food. Females in reddish-brown are less colorful. The species is common in the Southwest.

New Mexico has a surprisingly diverse dragonfly population--nearly 150 species can be found along our rivers and wetlands. These living jewels are some of the most ancient and largest insects on Earth. They are powerful predators both as winged adults and as aquatic nymphs. Some nymphs are formidable enough to take small fish or frogs as prey. Learn more at the annual Dragonfly Festival this Saturday, July 20.

What colorful insects are visiting your garden? Join the conversation on our Facebook page.

Image courtesy of Invertebrate Curator Ralph Charlton. It is a scan of a live dragonfly that was temporarily anesthetized, then released.

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