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Striped saddlebags (Tramea calverti)        Images © Mark A. Chappell

This elegantly marked dragonfly had me puzzled when I found it at the San Jacinto Wildlife Area in southern California.   It is normally found only in Mexico, south Texas and parts of Arizona, so I didn't think to check for it when I was attempting to find a species ID.   There are indications that its range is expanding westward, however:   it was first discovered in the extreme southeastern corner of California as recently as 2006.   Striped saddlebags are much more brightly colored, and considerably smaller, than their common relatives the red saddlebags and black saddlebags, but like those species it has a dark mark at the base of the hindwing (easily visible in the upper left image).

  • Canon 7D or 1D IV, Tamron 180 mm macro or 800 mm IS lens plus 1.4X converter and extension tubes, fill-in flash (2010)