Wandering Glider

Pantala flavescens

''Pantala flavescens'', the Globe Skimmer or Wandering Glider, is a wide-ranging dragonfly of the family Libellulidae. This species and ''Pantala hymenaea,'' the "Spot-winged Glider", are the only members of the genus ''Pantala'' from the subfamily Pantalinae. It was first described by Fabricius in 1798. It is considered to be the most widespread dragonfly on the planet.
Pantala flavescens Globe Skimmer in Flight In-flight dragon shots are always difficult You need that precision standard of focus with the complication that the bug is moving, and not particularly slowly either. Add to this, that the opportunities for the next single shot could be quite a wait.

The complication of the movement means that the relatively slow speeds of the flash range are not going to be of any use. So no secondary lighting and it is all about exposure times and available lighting.

If the day is overcast and dull, you might as well forget it and do something else. Ideally you want exp 4000th sec, ISO 400, F11. But for these settings, you are going to need arc lighting conditions. Settings have to be compromised.

I have a few very good shots as slow as 1000th sec, but I never go any slower. I control my setting from shutter priority mode.

The aperture setting needs to be small in order to achieve a depth of field. However if light is not perfect, aperture must be opened rather than compromising speed.

The ISO setting is a good way to maintain speed, but there is grain degredation, especially as you will be cropping in on the image. I have shot at ISO 2000 but it is woolly at best. I would say ISO 1000 is the limit for me.

If you keep the sun behind, you may be able to under expose by a stop, and pull the image back at the lab, during the editing process.

Focusing is not realistically possible, things just move too fast. You must first pay attention to the dragon movements, then pre-focus at a distance close enough to give you something to work with back at the lab, and far enough away to give you more successful shots. If you want a full screen 20Mp shot, it could take a couple of thousand clicks and several weeks. If you settle for a 1200px square, you might get half a dozen contenders in an hour and a hundred clicks.

The beauty of flavescens is that they fly in clouds and are inquisitive. If you keep still, they will explore you. I have arrived at the shoot with not a dragon in sight, and within the time it takes me to set-up, a dozen dragons arrive. This was when I was shooting them daily.

One last point; the DSLR and 105mm lens are heavy when continuously being held to the face. I use a monopod and tuck it into my trouser belt for continuous support.

Location is Bandung, West Java, Indonesia. Alongside a stream and paddy fields.
http://www.jungledragon.com/image/38607/pantala_flavescens_9651.html Bandung,Geotagged,Indonesia,Java,Pantala flavescens,Summer,Wandering Glider,West Java,dragon,dragonfly,flight,globe skimmer


* Fabricius , ''Entomologia systematica emendata et aucta
⟶  Supplement'', pp. 285
⤷  Beauvois , ''Insectes recueillis en Afrique et en Amérique'', pp. 69
⤷  Burmeister , ''Handbuch der Entomologie'', Band 2, pp. 852
Pantala flavescens Place: Bengaluru University Campus, Bengaluru Geotagged,India,Pantala flavescens,Summer,bengaluru,macro,nikon d7100


''Pantala flavescens'' may be confused with the ''P hymenaea,'' the "Spot-winged Glider," but this has a striking brown basal fleck in the hindwing and is generally slightly darker in color. It might be taken for a member of the genus ''Tramea'' but these usually have a distinctive stripe on their hind wings.The English common names "Wandering Glider" and "Globe Skimmer" refer to its migratory behaviour. The German name ''Wanderlibelle'' mean "migrant dragonfly". In Hong Kong, its name translates as ''Typhoon Dragonfly'' as it arrives with or shortly before the seasonal rain. The Japanese name is Usubaki-Tombo which is translated as "yellow dragonfly with delicate wings."In the scientific name ''Pantala flavescens,'' the genus name ''Pantala'' means "all wings," alluding to the big and long wings. The specific name comes from the Latin ''flavescens,'' meaning "yellowish," and refers to its distinctive golden tint.

The species was first described in 1798 as ''Libellula flavescens'' by Fabricius as follows:
L. [flavescens] alis hyalinis: stigmate niveo, corpore flavescente. Habitat in India Dom. Daldorff. Statura praecedentium. Caput flavescens oculis magnis, fuscis. Thorax flavescens, immaculatus. Abdomen compressum, flavescens linea dorsali nigra. Alae albae stigmate marginali niveo.

— Fabricius, ''Entomologia systematica emendata et aucta Supplement S. 285''
The first description of this underlying holotype is in the Zoological Museum of Copenhagen University taken from a female collected from India. In following years there appeared more descriptions with different names. In 1805, Palisot de Beauvois designated a specimen from Nigeria as ''Libellula viridula.'' Around 1823 the British entomologist Dale, in an unpublished manuscript, described an allegedly Norfolk-trapped male as ''Libellula sparing halli'', It is now in the Oxford University Museum of Natural History. In 1839, the German entomologist Burmeister named a male collected in Madras as ''Libellula analis'' and another male from Brazil as ''Libellula terminalis'' In 1910, the field was cleared as Richard Anthony Muttkowski recognized that these species were all synonyms. A description was made of ''Sympetrum tandicola'' 1955 from a male collected in the Himalayas and deposited at the Zoological Survey India, Calcutta, was identified as a ''Pantala flavescens'' in 1973.
Wandering_glider Seemed happy to pose from behind some green bars.  Geotagged,India,Pantala flavescens,Spring,Wandering Glider


The Globe Skimmer, as its name suggests, has a very wide distribution area, between about the 40th parallels of latitude or within the 20 °C isotherm . In Europe there are only occasional sightings of the species, with serious evidence to date mainly from the Aegean Sea and the adjacent mainland. All Globe Skimmer records from England or France are of extremely doubtful value and may arise from co-importation with shipments of bananas. An explanation for the scarcity in Europe of this otherwise common species is the barrier effect of the Sahara which generates unfavourable winds, such as the Sirocco, whose dryness makes dragonfly passage almost impossible.

Their arrival in the subtropics and tropics coincides with the Intertropical Convergence Zone. More evidence of their preference for moist winds, is that the dragonfly migrates to Southeast India's Tamil Nadu only after the second monsoon which is brings the rain to that region. In the rest of India, however, it arrives with the first rain-making monsoon. Observations and stable isotope evidence suggests that they migrate from India or beyond to Africa across the Arabian Sea.

It is the highest-flying dragonfly, recorded at 6,200 m in the Himalayas. It was also first dragonfly species that settled on Bikini Atoll after the nuclear tests there. Furthermore, it is the only Odonata on Easter Island. These individuals seem to be a small gene pool, derived from the continental populations, which is slowly creating a new type by genetic drift. In colder areas like South Australia and Northern Canada, the species cannot overwinter and must therefore be replaced by new migrants each year.
Pantala flavescens  Pantala flavescens


The Globe Skimmer has NatureServe conservation status G5, meaning it is secure worldwide. This status was awarded on 30 December 1985. In the USA, it has the national equivalent protection status N5. In Canada, however, it is lower with N4 meaning it is apparently secure – uncommon but not rare but with some cause for long-term concern. Even at this level, it is granted protected status in many states of the US and Canada.
A Festival of Dragons These dragons are warming up in the first rays of the sun as it comes into the valley. They spent the night hanging from the paddy field produce, amongst a few thousand long jawed spiders and argiope spiders, various mantids.

I am so lucky, across the road from my house, there is a 25m square patch of undeveloped land, over which a swarm of flavescens entertain me all day long, and I don't need to leave my chair :)

Location is Bandung, West Java, Indonesia. Alongside a stream and paddy fields.
http://www.jungledragon.com/image/38587/pantala_flavescens_the_globe_skimmer.html Bandung,Java,Pantala flavescens,Wandering Glider,West Java,dragon,dragonfly,globe skimmer


Their flight speed is up to 5 m / s. Especially in the autumn, the Wandering Glider flies in large swarms, using thermals to advantage. One report even speaks of a "cloud" covering 34 km2. They prefer moist winds. In normal flight, island populations keep to 2.5 meters above the ground on and stop flying in thermal updraughts. The continental populations, fly at altitudes of three to four meters and do not stop flying even in bad weather. Those on Easter Island have adapted away from their migratory habits because to fly out to the open sea would usually mean certain death.

When landing, it seeks a vertical attitude. Like all large dragonflies, the wings are held out from the body at rest.
Dragonfly in Flight Dragonfly in Flight Pantala flavescens,Wandering Glider


The larva between 24 and 26 mm long. It is light green with light, brown speckles. The round eyes are sideways on the bottom of the head, the abdomen and the tail blunt.

The paired side plates on the eleventh segment of the abdomen, the so-called Paraproct, is smooth when seen from the side. The unpaired dorsal plate of the eleventh segment, called the Epiproct, is roughly the same length as or longer than the Paraproct. This distinguishes them from larvae of the genus ''Tramea'', where the Epiproct shorter than the Paraproct. Furthermore, the mouth parts '''' have 12–14 bristles and thus less than ''P. hymenaea'' which has 15–18 bristles.As is usual in the Libellulidae family, there is no distinct courtship ritual. The females may pair many times, but usually only once a day.

After mating, the migrant dragonflies fly in tandem, with the female ovipositing while the male remains connected. This species sometimes selects unsuitable places like freshly washed cars. A clutch consists of about 500 to 2000 eggs. The eggs spheroid in shape with the semi-major axis 0.5 mm and 0.4 mm at the smallest points.

The larvae develop within 38 to 65 days, which allows this migrant dragonfly to reproduce in temporary waters or even in swimming pools. However, the larvae seem to be very sensitive to temperature. The life expectancy is not known and because of their high mobility it is almost impossible to determine.
Pantala flavescens Globe Skimmer in Flight Location is Bandung, West Java, Indonesia. Alongside a stream and paddy fields.
http://www.jungledragon.com/image/38606/pantala_flavescens_9571.html Bandung,Geotagged,Indonesia,Java,Pantala flavescens,Summer,Wandering Glider,West Java,dragon,dragonfly,flight,globe skimmer


The larvae of the Globe Skimmer, like all dragonflies, are predatory. It forages very actively and eats fairly indiscriminately all sorts of aquatic invertebrates such as aquatic insect larvae and small shrimps ''.'' Even tadpoles and small fish are used for food. The imago eats mostly small insects such as mosquitoes swarming flying ants and termites.


Some text fragments are auto parsed from Wikipedia.

Status: Least concern
SpeciesP. flavescens