This dragonfly was photographed at the Weerawila tank (reservoir) during the Photography tour that I guided last month. It was identified by Odonatologist, Matjaz Bedjanic as a Coastal Pennant Macrodiplax cora.
I was quite pleased about this capture as Matjaz, following the identification, disclosed that the authors of the Dragonflies of Sri Lanka (2007) had tried to photograph this to be included in this photo guide without success. Before that, Karen Conniff, one of its co-authors of this book, had also urged me to look for this elusive dragon on my travels to the deep south.
We arrived at the Weerawila Tank (from Tissamaharama road end) at around 10.00 a.m., on 9 August, 2008 to improve the angle of a big aggregation of water birds seen previously. Unfortunately, there was very little bird photography that we could do due to the strong winds experienced on this day—so much so that we were worried to keep our scopes unattended!
On the positive side, in the grassy belt of land protected by the bund from the gusts was a swarm of dragonflies—with 1000s of dragonflies!
‘Dragonfly swarms’ occur when adults exhibiting a stereotypical tight interweaving flight pattern, form a high-density aggregation within a confined area. Swarms are often composed of multiple species.
The species observed in the order of the abundance (as casually observed) in this particular swarm included Dancing Dropwing Trithemis pallidinervis, Scarlet Basker Urothemis signata signata, Asian Groundling Brachythemis contaminata, Oriental Scarlet Crocothemis servilia servilia, and Coastal Pennant Macrodiplax cora featured here.
I suspect that this particular case of swarming was probably to seek protection from the elements and to feast on insect prey that may have also been sucked into this 'safety zone.'