FLAG-TAILED SPINYLEG, EASTERN RINGTAIL, AND RUSSET-TIPPED clubtail
Flag-tailed Spinyleg. These dragonflies are fairly common at large ponds, lakes, and prairie wetlands in our area. They are also seen along rivers. Flag-tailed Spinylegs usually fly from late June through early September.
The Flag-tailed Spinyleg at left was eating a Common Buckeye butterfly. Flag-tailed Spinylegs like to lurk in the grass and nab passing butterflies. I have also seen them eating Hackberry Emperors, Pearl Crescents, Cloudless and Orange Sulphurs, and small skipper butterflies. The individual at left was photographed at the Caesar Creek prairie.
This is a shimmery, teneral (newly-emerged) Flag-tailed Spinyleg. Photographed at Spring Lakes Park in Bellbrook (which has a great population of Flag-tailed Spinylegs).
The dragonfly at left is a male Eastern Ringtail. Superficially, Eastern Ringtails bear some resemblance to Flag-tailed Spinylegs, but Eastern Ringtails are smaller dragonflies with smaller clubs. The hindlegs are also a dead giveaway - Eastern Ringtails have much shorter hindlegs with yellow thighs. The thorax is bright green.
Eastern Ringtails are uncommon in Ohio. All of the recent records have been in the southwestern corner of the state, but this is a southern species that might expand its range further into Ohio. I have found Eastern Ringtails at two locations along the Great Miami River (one in Miamisburg and the other just north of Middletown). They have also been found at a couple of locations further south on both the Great Miami and Little Miami.
This is a Russet-tipped Clubtail. This species belongs to the family of hanging clubtails, which are generally very difficult to find, because they spend much of their time perched in trees where they are difficult to spot.
Russet-tipped Clubtails have a long flight period that extends later in the year than most clubtail species. I have found two individuals along the Great Miami River in Miamisburg on September 6, 2018, and September 29, 2019.
This is a female Eastern Ringtail. They like to hang out in grassy fields near the river. Eastern Ringtails are surprisingly difficult to spot, even when they are perched in very short grass. There is something about their green, striped patterns that blends in very effectively with short-mowed grass.
Another female Eastern Ringtail. This species flies fairly late in the year for a clubtail. All of my sightings have been in August or early September.