Can you identify this insect?

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Taken by yours truly using his wobbly hands and a Sony DSC H2 camera from the backyard between 8 PM and 10:30 PM. I thought I'd see a reddish hue as noted here. It was better. It was blue. A pebble in the sky. Magnificent.

Probably not. I'd call it a dragonfly.

By Physicalist (not verified) on 07 Nov 2011 #permalink

Hard to tell without context (where? when?) and a slightly out of focus picture but it could be an adult male Brachymesia furcata, indeed.

By Christoph Zurnieden (not verified) on 07 Nov 2011 #permalink

Looks more like a Damselfly.

By glenn scriven (not verified) on 07 Nov 2011 #permalink

I would say Sympetrum as well.

It's definitely a dragonfly. Damselflies hold their wings vertical when at rest, dragonflies spread them out. No idea of the exact species, though.

red darter

Ok, October fits, but northern Minnessota? That´s would be very far from home! Normal geographical range is in the most southern states of the USA. Some of these states seem to have a severe drought and this aridity may have caused such an unusual far north sighting but I think B. furcata is out.
That far north in October a Sympetrum sp. (vicinium? Does it have a small triangular kind of thorn at the bottom of the tail and yellowish legs? If it has such things and has a reddish abdomen, too, it is a female of that species. If the form of the hamule fits) is more likely.

You may try bugguide.net which has a very large collection of geographically annotated and correctly identified (see comments to the respective pictures) images. I used it to crosscheck my guesses but it is hard to search there without any first guess. You may take a look at http://bugguide.net/node/view/191#id for how hard it is to identify Anisoptera. I was probably a bit too bold to try my new fresh new and obscenely over-priced teeth at it :-)

As far as I remember http://www.dragonflies.org/ has a kind of checklist but that site seems to be off (got only time-outs for the last half hour).

By Christoph Zurnieden (not verified) on 08 Nov 2011 #permalink

Christoph, good questoins... Aaron Brees is saying it's Sympetrum obtrusum

It's a red-tailed dragonfly ! Lots of pictures and information when you put it into Google. I make Insect themed jewelry and have been looking at Dragonflies a lot in order to create them in Silver. Hope this is helpful.

Damselfly.

What, you wanted something more specific?

By Chris Winter (not verified) on 08 Nov 2011 #permalink

Christoph Zurnieden wrote: "As far as I remember http://www.dragonflies.org/ has a kind of checklist but that site seems to be off (got only time-outs for the last half hour)."

The Wayback Machine has its last snapshot on 30 June. Prior to that it appeared at least once a month throughout this year.

By Chris Winter (not verified) on 08 Nov 2011 #permalink

Aaron Brees is an authority here, so S. obtrusum it will be.

S. obtrusum has a distinct white "face", which means I asked many questions but not the right one, as it seems :-)

Oh, and dragonflies.org is off-line? Sad, it was a good source. But at least it has been archived.

By Christoph Zurnieden (not verified) on 08 Nov 2011 #permalink

that insect is Charlie. he owes me money.

Did I really say that it was S. obtrusum??? Christoph's suggestion of Sympetrum vicinum is certainly correct. Terrifying that anyone would call me an "authority" on these things!