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Draft IDENTIFYING MOSAIC DARNERS

Preamble: During the next few weeks I will be uploading some images of Mosaic Darners (Odonata: Anisoptera: Aeshnidae: Aeschna). These will be rather bland images of posed dragonflies taken specifically to show the features useful for identification; they would not win any prizes in a photographic competition. Dunkle's book (1) for all its excellence has some limitations when it comes to identifying some of these species. Note that Dunkle posed many of his specimens, I follow the same technique but chose a 'non-busy' background. These images will be incorporated into an article - a sort of photo key - that I hope will enable readers to identify their Mosaic Darner photos.

If anyone has any decent photos of Mosaic Darners this may be a good time to submit them to BugGuide for potential incorporation in the key.
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INTRODUCTION
In the field and in photos, the Mosaic Darners consisting of 20 spp. http://bugguide.net/node/view/6322/tree and can be difficult to identify to species. A combination of abdominal pattern and thoracic pattern, with face pattern, eye colour and male abdominal appendages, are generally the most useful characters for species identification. The thoracic pattern is less variable than the abdominal pattern in the Mosaic Darners. The thorax is usually dark with 2 lateral stripes (LS's), an anterior (ALS) and a posterior (PLS). Some species have spots in front of the ALS and in the space between the ALS and PLS. For all Mosaic Darners it is a good idea to get both dorsal views and lateral views of the entire body and particularly a sharp image of the lateral thorax; a head-on photo of the face is also desirable . Another species, Springtime Darner (Basiaeschna janata) is easily confused with the Mosaic Darners and will be included in the 'key'.

Looking good
Tony, I appreciate you efforts. You've got me thinking about some markup that might make formatting these articles easier to accomplish. Thanks for being the first to try it!

If you like, you can include a link to show the taxonomy. In general, just copy and paste the URL you see in your browser after following your instructions, or use the one below for this particular case. Check the help/markup page for more information about including links if you don't know already.

http://bugguide.net/node/view/274/tree/all
or even better
Aeshnidae Taxonomy

I'm just speaking in general here for future articles. I believe we should include as much information as reasonable in the guide pages themselves, since that's the obvious place to look for it. That's not to say we couldn't repeat key facts in articles, but I don't think we'd want it the other way around. I don't know if that's the case here because I haven't checked the species pages. At any rate I understand we may not be able to provide it there at the moment because of ownership restrictions (working on that).

We'll definitely include a link from the darners guide page to this article when it's completed.

 
dichotomous keys
My initial idea was ill-conceived; I have now resticted it to one genus and this should enable me to construct a dichotomous key using photos in the Guide.

 
Don't fret too much about formatting
I may eventually change the formatting some to maintain some sort of consistency in the articles, so don't worry too much about the formatting. The content is what matters!

internet reference
There's a 19 page .pdf file listed as an internet reference under the genus Aeshna in the guide that we have found very useful. See what you think.

The Blue Darners: dragonflies of the genus Aeshna in British Columbia

 
something specific?
Thanks. Is there something specific here, perhaps in the text, images and/or formatting, that you would like to see incorporated into the present article? I welcome suggestions, ideas and constructive criticism - encouragement and praise also acceptable!

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