Scarlet Skimmer 2012

Common Grounds, Princeville, Hawaii USA 2012

This eye-popping, brilliant red belongs to the Scarlet Skimmer, a.k.a. Crimson Darter, Crocothemis servilia. Found in East and South East Asia, it has also has taken up residence in Florida, Cuba, and Hawaii. They frequent habitats with still waters and grassy fields, and are commonly seen around disturbed areas such as ditches and golf ponds. Reaching lengths up to one and a half inches or more, they are one of the larger red dragonflies. While many dragonflies are known for their frenetic flight, these guys are perchers; sitting tall on marsh vegetation, ready to ambush their prey or chase off any intruders to their territory. Their striking color makes them easy to spot; even the eyes of the male are red, and a dark line running along the abdomen helps distinguish this from other species. The females and younger males are yellowish in color. Males undergo "nupital coloration," a change in their body color which signals sexual maturity. Recently, scientists discovered that the color change is redox dependent. Epidermal pigments in young males and even females turned from yellow to bright red when injected with a reductive agent. So I guess it's fair to say that those bright red males.... have a certain chemistry.

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