Darners or hawkers (Family Aeshnidae) are one of the more frustrating species of dragonflies for me. They’re big and fast and never seem to rest, which makes them difficult both to identify and to photograph.
This one I found in a pond in Boulder, all but dead, which is how I could take a clear close-up shot with a cameraphone–a live darner would almost never hold still for that. Blue-eyed Darners (Rhionaeschna multicolor) like this one are the second species to show up in Colorado in spring, after the Common Green Darner (Anax junius), so I was pretty excited to get a close look at this one, even if it was dying.
I foolishly did not stick it in a bag to take home (lesson learned!), and two hours later, the scavengers had pretty much eaten it. Here’s a photo of what was left the next day:
The transparent brown part is the thorax–I guess it has a lot of meat in it. The head and eyes were the first part the scavengers consumed. You can see here how the uneaten bits are much duller in color than in the photo from when it was (barely) alive; darners in particular lose color quickly after dying.