Great Blue Skimmer dragonflies (mating pair, female ovipositing)

The following gallery shows a mating pair of Great Blue Skimmer dragonflies (Libellula vibrans) spotted in the central wetland area at Huntley Meadows Park on 06 June 2012. Photo 1 (of 2) shows the pair “in wheel.” All dragonflies and damselflies have a 10-segmented abdomen: male dragonfly secondary genitalia are located in segments two and three (2 and 3); female genitalia in segment eight (8). Therefore, the male dragonfly is on top in Photo 1; the female is on the bottom. Photo 2 shows the female half of the mating pair, resting immediately after copulation.

The following video shows the same mating pair of Great Blue Skimmer dragonflies (‘in wheel”), and the female resting (after copulation) before laying eggs by the process of oviposition. The female dragonfly skims the water repeatedly, picking up drops of water that are used to flick fertilized eggs toward the shore. The process typically lasts a few seconds to a few minutes. The male half of the mating pair “hover guards” the female as she lays eggs, also known as “non-contact guarding” (see slow motion segment of video).

Copyright © 2012 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

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