Three months ago I visited Rollingstone Creek with a Wildlife Queensland group, and I liked the place so much that I went back there a few days ago. The creek and its park weren’t much changed (Rollingstone, 50 km to our North, has had more rain than Townsville so it hasn’t continued to dry out as we have) but the star attractions this time were the insects, not the birds. Of the insects, one dragonfly was outstanding.
This gorgeously coloured dragonfly was new to me and entirely deserves both its common name, Jewel, and its Latin name, resplendens. It is one of five species in its genus, Rhyothemis, all of which are “Flutterers” by flight style and common name, and all of which live along our tropical coast. I am happily familiar with the Graphic, Sapphire and Yellow-striped Flutterers (Rhyothemis graphiptera, princeps and phyllis respectively) from the Palmetum, Anderson Park, Ross River parklands and my own garden. This link will take you to my older photos of them. Now I only have one to find, the Iridescent Flutterer, R. braganza. It looks like this: not my photo.
The Painted Grasshawk, Neurothemis stigmatizans, is another dragonfly with beautifully coloured wings. Like the Flutterers, it is medium-small as dragonflies go. It is one of two Australian species in its genus but we don’t see the other locally since it is restricted to Cape York and the Top End.
Theischinger and Hawking call this a “tiny” dragonfly and it’s the smallest I’ve seen (although some damselflies are smaller). It’s the Pigmy Percher, Nannodiplax rubra, and it too was new to me on that trip … but the Jewel robbed it of most of the attention I might ordinarily have given it.