Gray Sanddragon, Progomphus borealis
The gray sanddragon (Progomphus borealis) is a species of dragonfly that can be found in many areas including Arizona, California, Idaho, Texas, New Mexico, Washington, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. This species prefers a habitat near streams and rivers in desert climates. It is typically seen between the months of June and September, but it can also be seen between April and October.
Adult gray sanddragons reach an average body length between 2.2 and 2.4 inches, while its nymphs or larvae are much smaller reaching an average length of one inch. Young are brown in color, while adults hold many colors. The thorax and face are yellowish-brown to grey in color, with some individuals holding black markings on the thorax. The abdomen of this species is black with yellow markings occurring along the upper-belly and underbelly.
The gray sanddragon consumes a number of flying insects including flies, mosquitoes, and butterflies, while nymphs feed on the larvae of aquatic insects like mosquito larvae, but they will also consume freshwater shrimp. After mating, females will fly along the surface of a water source, sticking the tip of their abdomens into the water and laying eggs in the muddy shallows. Once the eggs hatch, the resulting nymphs will search for appropriate places to burrow, which typically occur in a few areas of each water source. The nymphs can breathe by pumping water in and out of the tip of their abdomens. Nymphs can be seen emerging from the water and transforming into adults during the daytime.
Image Caption: Progomphus borealis, Gray Sand Dragon. Cave Creek, Maricopa Co., Arizona, USA. Credit: Pompilid/Wikipedia (CC BY-SA 3.0)