On Saturday, I photographed these Beaverpond Baskettail dragonflies (Epitheca canis) at Rose Lake State Wildlife Research Area. Aside from the Common Green Darner dragonflies I had seen two weeks earlier, the Beaverpond Baskettail is one of the earliest emerging dragonflies in this part of Michigan. Because they have such an early flight period in the spring, I had never actually gotten a photo of one because I have started my dragonfly hunting too late.
Thanks to my luck in finding this species this year, I had some closure on a longstanding question about another similar species of baskettail dragonflies that also emerges around this time of year. No matter how good the descriptions in my books and information online are regarding the subtle differences between species, the best way to differentiate between species is to compare them directly. I learned early on to photograph as much of a dragonfly as closely as possible in order to make sure I can identify them correctly. This allowed me to look back at some photos from last year in order to confirm definitively another species, the Spiny Baskettail (Epitheca spinigera), that I have seen at Fenner Nature Center the past few years. I was excited to be able to check two more dragonflies off my list because of this find.