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Wandering glider (Pantala flavescens)        Images © Mark A. Chappell

This species is perhaps the most widely distributed dragonfly in the world, breeding on every continent except Antarctica and western Europe, and sometimes found thousands of km from land over the open ocean.   It's identified by the yellowish tapered abdomen, plain gray thorax, large triangular hindwings (visible in two of the pictures of the resting individuals), and striking yellow face.   Occasionally they feed in swarms, but as with many dragonflies the males patrol and defend territories.   They seem to perch rarely but frequently hover, and I was able to use a long telephoto to shoot many frames of these hovering individuals at the San Jacinto Wildlife Area near Riverside, California.   A mating pair is shown below (the male is in front, holding the female's head with his abdominal 'pinchers'; the bottom right image shows a wandering glider that came to grief in the web of an orb spider.   These shots greatly benefited from the quick, accurate autofocus capabilities of modern cameras (more flight shots here).
            A close relative of the wandering glider is the similar spot-winged glider, which has the same general shape and habits.

  • Canon 1D MK. II, 1D3, or 1D IV; 500 mm IS lens plus 2X converter or 800 mm IS lens plus 1.4X converter, extension tubes, fill-in flash on some images (2004, 2005, 2008, 2010)