Pacific Spiketail ovipositing
Gumboot Creek, Siskiyou County
In what I think is the most impressive behavior we've yet seen in the odonate world, Rita and I watched a female Pacific Spiketail ovipositing in a quiet, shallow corner of crystal-clear Gumboot Creek at about 6000' elevation. She hovered over a single spot, and constantly and repeatedly propelled herself up and down in a vertical sewing-machine-like action as she drove her impressive ovipositor into the silt at the bottom of the little pool. She seemed oblivious to us. I was able to move from one angle to another as I snapped shots. According to the time meter on the digital camera, I started shooting at 10:46 a.m. and continued through 91 photos, ending at 10:52 a.m., six minutes later. I then stepped aside as Rita returned with her video, but the performance concluded just as Rita set up a couple minutes later. At a minimum, she was at the task for 8 minutes, thrusting downward at least once a second. Give or take a few seconds during brief hovering rests, she must have completed 450 cycles, and possibly 500 cycles. It is rare enough to see a Spiketail well — but this went beyond all previous experiences.
© Don Roberson 2007