On a recent foray into the wilds of Adams County, I came across a small stream flowing through the limestone glades. The most conspicuous insect occupying the waterway and vicinity were one of our most beautiful damselflies, the Ebony Jewelwing, Calopteryx maculata.
We didn't encounter any of the females near the stream. All were back in the forest on either side, and not within a few hundred yards of the water. I suspect this might have been because of the testosterone-charged males, which don't stray far from the creek banks. If one of the females put in an appearance, these guys would be all over her.
This is the male, with solid coal-black wings. Their bodies are stunning in coloration; shiny iridescent green, turning to a bright blue depending on how the light strikes the insect. The small Adams County stream was full of male jewelwings, making sorties out over the water, briefly perching on overhanging vegetation, and duking it out with each other.
I caught this video of one of the males engaging in an almost hypnotic wing-flashing display; a kaleidoscope-like effect that is quite fetching. I think its purpose is to send a message to other males - "back off - this is my turf!" Note the Wood Thrush singing in the background.
Several of the stunning Golden-backed Snipe Flies (GBSF), Chrysopilus thoracicus, were also encountered in this same forest. These flies of early summer are striking in the extreme. Like many small insects, they'd be easy to miss, but if one pays careful attention you'll notice one sooner or later. I believe this one is a male, with a narrower tapered abdomen.
Top down on a GBSF. It's as if their napes were made of brushed golden silk. Like so many insects, precious little seems to be known about this species and its life cycle. If I knew more about Golden-backed Snipe Flies other than their name, I'd pitch it out there. But knowing the name and identity is a start, I suppose.