08.02.2020-2 Not just another empty suit

Dragonfly exuvia less the former occupant.

I got as low as I could but the angle didn’t allow the depth of field I would have liked even at f/22.  Shot with the 100-400 x 2 so that might have something to do with it.  Not sure if the 180 would have done better but would have been the proper tool for the job.  It’ll be back on Tuesday I was told.

And for your viewing pleasure, an eclosure in a controlled setting.

About Steve Gingold

I am a Nature Photographer with interests in all things related. Water, flowers, insects and fungi are my main interests but I am happy to photograph wildlife and landscapes and all other of Nature's subjects.
This entry was posted in Amherst, Animal Behavior, Closeup Photography, Insect Behavior, Insects, Nature Photography, Western Massachusetts and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

27 Responses to 08.02.2020-2 Not just another empty suit

  1. Mike Powell says:

    The metamorphosis of a dragonfly is amazing, almost unbelievable. I have a friend who collects the discarded exoskeletons (exuviae) and then studies them to determine the species. It is a lot easier when, as in the video, you get to see the species that emerges.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Eliza Waters says:

    Fascinating video. Reminds me of watching the transformation of a monarch out of its pupa. Amazing process.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. krikitarts says:

    The part that I always find most amazing is when they pump their fluid into those shriveled, nondescript structures to turn them into such perfect, elegant wings.

    Liked by 1 person

    • All of nature is filled with amazement. How creatures have evolved to do what they do is mind boggling. Just as with the expansion of wings with life fulfilling fluid, the incredible variety of survival strategies leaves us humbled.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. How often have you come across dragonfly exuviae? I’ve never found one.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Coming across invertebrate exuvia is always fascinating. You did really well with the lens you had. The angle looks awkward, knee straining and potentially back paining, too. Sometimes it is hard to get just that bit lower to get the best angle on something, unless you end up belly down on the ground, which is not always ideal. Even with flash and a high f-stop 30+ it is hard to get the whole thing in focus.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I could have got a bit lower, belly down as you mention, but that would have meant lying in the ooze next to the swamp and this was at the end of a few hours long shoot so I passed on that. I’ve joined an exuvia ID group on Facebook at Mike Powell’s suggestion and there is an attempt going on to ID the former occupant. 🙂 I didn’t collect it at first but went back yesterday and grabbed it.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Todd Henson says:

    Wow, I don’t think I’ve seen one of those before, at least not from a dragonfly. Absolutely fascinating.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I haven’t seen many but will likely start looking a bit harder. I spend a lot of time by swamps and ponds so there are probably quite a few that I just don’t see. Metamorphosis is amazing.


  7. bluebrightly says:

    It’s no wonder the subject of metamorphosis inspired so many people through the ages. It’s just bind-moggling! 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  8. shoreacres says:

    I’ve never seen one of these. Right now, it’s the cicadas that are leaving exuviae all around: on stairs, on walls, on porch railings. Usually I see one or two each year, but right now they seem to be everywhere. You certainly were lucky to find this gem.

    Liked by 1 person

    • This was just my second opportunity to photograph one. I may have seen others but only remember the two.
      One year we went to Bethesda, MD to visit Mary Beth’s sister. When we crossed the state line from NJ while riding with the windows down I thought we had developed some kind of a squeak in the wheels. It was 17-year cicadas. Once we arrived at Peg’s house they were everywhere, both living and dead and you couldn’t easily avoid crunching the exuviae when going for a walk. As a visitor I found it exciting but I’d guess for those who live there it was a pain, especially the cleanup.


  9. Those exuviae are somewhat otherworldly, I think. Do you find them often?
    Thank you also for including the fascinating video. It’s very meditative, especially with the music.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. melissabluefineart says:

    My son and I love being horrified by the dragonfly larvae we come across in lakes. They take many ferocious forms. No matter how fearsome they are as larvae and as adults, they must pass through this vulnerable phase. It was very nice to watch the film you shared. Like Tanja I found it meditative.

    Liked by 1 person

    • The molting phase is always a dangerous vulnerable time for any creature that metamorphoses. Funny…I never thought of them as terrifying, guess there is still a little boy left in me, and just am amazed at the form they have before becoming something so different.


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