Ebony jewelwing

At first glance these damselflies look somewhat like butterflies when they fly, with their fluttering wings. A closer glance shows the exquisite details that make them living jewels. The males have iridescent green bodies that turn blue in certain light. The females like the one shown have slightly more subdued colors, but the addition of a white spot on the wings. They flash and glint in the dappled sun as they flit along the creek running through my yard. When not flying, they usually are perched motionless but sometimes they clap their wings, slowly opening them and then quickly snapping them shut, which I caught in this picture. It is not entirely certain why they do this, but most likely it is either for mates to communicate, or a way to cool off by pumping blood to the extremities, which at the same time helps them get more oxygen. I enjoy this ephemeral summer show, since each damselfly only lives to fly as an adult for a couple weeks.