The dragonfly at left is a male Eastern Ringtail. These are one of my favorite dragonflies to photograph. They are generally very cooperative for photos, and they are so colorful that I think they should be called "rainbow clubtails."
Eastern Ringtails used to be fairly rare in Ohio. In recent years, they seem to be expanding their range. This is a southern species that might benefit from a warmer climate (unlike most of our other clubtails, which are losing ground). Most of Ohio's records are from the southwestern corner of the state. Eastern Ringtails have been found at several sites along the Great Miami and also at the mouth of the Little Miami. All of the individuals on this page were found along the Great Miami, at either Middletown or Miamisburg.
This is a female Eastern Ringtail. This species likes to hang out in grassy fields near the river. They perch either on the ground or on the tips of vegetation. Eastern Ringtails can be surprisingly difficult to spot 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 late in the year for a clubtail. My sightings range from July 22 to October 7.
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. This male Eastern Ringtail has short hindlegs with yellow thighs. A Flag-tailed Spinyleg would have much longer hindlegs with spines on them.
This male Eastern Ringtail is tilting his head to stare inquisitively at the strange human creature photographing him.
This is a newly-emerged Eastern Ringtail. Its wings were shiny and its flight was weak and fluttery, as with most teneral dragonflies.