Coral-fronted Threadtail
Neoneura aaroni
The Coral-fronted Threadtail (Neoneura aaroni) is a member of the family Protoneuridae and within the U.S. occurs only in Texas. It is also found southward into parts of Mexico. Most Texas records have been in the Hill Country of the central part of the state, but the species has also been found along the Rio Grande. The shots here of a male in flight and of a pair in tandem were taken along the banks of the Rio Grande in San Ygnacio, Zapata Co., Texas in May, 2005. A very large mayfly hatch had occurred along the river and the tandem pairs were seen ovipositing into the debris created from thousands of dead mayflies collected near the shore. These photos were all digital captures with a Canon EOS 1D Mark II and an EF 300mm F/4 L IS lens and 2X extender and 580EX flash.
The next shot was taken with the same equipment as above at Honey Creek State Natural Area, Comal Co., Texas, in June, 2005.
The male Coral-fronted Threadtail shown here was on the Guadalupe River, Gonzales Co., Texas, in August, 2010. This image was taken with a Canon EOS 1D Mark IV and a Sigma 50-500mm lens and Canon 580 flash.
The next 5 images show tandem pairs of Coral-fronted Threadtails along the San Marcos River in San Marcos, Hays Co., Texas, in August, 2010. These shots were also taken with a Canon EOS 1D Mark IV and a Sigma 50-500mm lens and Canon 580 flash.
The current in the river was moderately swift. We sat on a sidewalk near a bridge and watched numerous pairs of Coral-fronted Threadtail (Neoneura aaroni) in tandem. There were leaves, sticks and other small debris floating along in this channel being carried by the current. Just downstream from the area where we were sitting the water flowed udder a low concrete bridge where it was dark, the top of the bridge being only about 10 inches above the water's surface. The tandem pairs of threadtails would land on a tiny stick or other debris and the females would being to probe and oviposit into the wood, but as soon as the small woody debris would start to flow under the bridge and into the dark, the damsels would take off and try to find a new perch out in the open. We then began watching as the males would start to fly upstream, against the current, while the female was perched on the tiny stick in the process of laying eggs. The males would literally pull against the current and in effect keep the stick from going under the bridge while the female did her work. Sometimes two pairs would land on the same stick and all 4 individuals would work against the current and actually pull the stick upstream for several feet, a herculean effort it seemed. This continued for the hour or so we sat there and watched. I had never seen this behavior before, but perhaps others have. In any event, I thought it was very interesting.