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whatsthis11-550xThis lovely assembly, a chapter in the struggle for existence, came from along the Connecticut River near Haddam, CT, on Friday, June 21. Name it and win $5 off any of my outings or workshops. And if you’re looking for an easier provocation, here’s the complete lineup of What’s This? challenges.

Added June 24: We have winners. Everyone wins, correctly naming this oddity the eggs of a dragonfly. Chris Hill got closest to the right answer, which is Gomphus fraternus (Midland Clubtail). Mike Gendler netted her along the Connecticut River in Haddam, CT, on Friday. Midland Clubtails are elusive. (Mike is skilled with a net and nimble hopping around boulders in rivers and streams — a necessary adaptation for someone building a phylogeny of New York dragonflies in the genus Ophiogomphus, which are themselves nimble on rivers). Anyway, when you net a female dragonfly, she often begins to lay eggs – perhaps her last attempt to leave behind her genome before leaving this earth. But Mike set her down on some quartzy rock, and I fired off one shot before she rocketed away.

Midland Clubtail (Gomphus fraternus) / © Bryan Pfeiffer

Midland Clubtail (Gomphus fraternus) / © Bryan Pfeiffer

It’s nice to hear from everyone on these, especially my old pal and sharp-eyed entomologist Davie Rolnick. And Sara Backer wins her usual honorable mention for creativity and, well, some welcome audacity.

  1. Steve Allen says:

    it’s a dragonfly ovipositor, for laying eggs underwater.

  2. Sara Backer says:

    Oh, my gosh, that’s one of the rare Thin Men of Haddam imagining golden birds! Now, I better understand what Wallace Stevens meant when he urged them to watch out for blackbirds.

  3. Davie Rolnick says:

    A collection of eggs on the underside of the abdomen tip of a dragonfly (maybe a clubtail or snaketail)?

  4. Chris Hill says:

    Female Cobra Clubtail from underneath.

  5. Judy Brook says:

    These are eggs on the distal end of a dragonfly’s abdomen.

  6. Jenn Jones says:

    Spinylegs dragonfly eggs?

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