Archive for October, 2012

Needham’s Skimmer dragonfly (male) redux 3

October 30, 2012

A Needham’s Skimmer dragonfly (Libellula needhami) perched on a branch of a small tree that fell in the Paul Spring stream bed. This individual is a male, as indicated by its coloration and the “claspers” (terminal appendages) at the end of its abdomen.

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Habitat: “Paul Spring Park,” one of seven small parks owned and maintained by the Community Association of Hollin Hills, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. Paul Spring is a small year-round stream that flows through Paul Spring Park.

Copyright © 2012 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved. www.wsanford.com

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Autumn Meadowhawk dragonfly (male)

October 28, 2012

An Autumn Meadowhawk dragonfly (Sympetrum vicinum) spotted at Meadowood Recreation Area. This individual is a male, as indicated by its red coloration and by the reddish “claspers” (terminal appendages) at the end of its abdomen.

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Habitat: Hidden Pond, a small lake located at Meadowood Recreation Area in Fairfax County, Virginia USA. Related Resource: Meadowood Recreation Area Trail Map (PDF).

Copyright © 2012 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved. www.wsanford.com

Autumn Meadowhawk dragonflies (mating pair, in tandem) redux

October 26, 2012

A mating pair of Autumn Meadowhawk dragonflies (Sympetrum vicinum) spotted at Meadowood Recreation Area. The dragonflies shown in the preceding photo are “in tandem,” in which the male (shown upper-left, below) uses “claspers” (terminal appendages) at the end of his abdomen to hold the female by her head. In this stage, the dragonflies are either going to copulate in wheel or they are resting between periods of oviposition in tandem; experience has shown the latter is more probable than the former.

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Habitat: Hidden Pond, a small lake located at Meadowood Recreation Area in Fairfax County, Virginia USA. Related Resource: Meadowood Recreation Area Trail Map (PDF).

Copyright © 2012 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved. www.wsanford.com

Big Bluet damselfly (male, eating)

October 24, 2012

A Big Bluet damselfly (Enallagma durum) spotted along the shore of Accotink Bay. This individual is a male, as indicated by its blue coloration; it is shown eating a smaller winged insect.

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Habitat: Accotink Bay Wildlife Refuge, a 1,200 acre preserve located at Army Garrison Fort Belvoir, Fairfax County, Virginia USA.

Copyright © 2012 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved. www.wsanford.com

Familiar Bluet damselflies (males)

October 22, 2012

A couple of Familiar Bluet damselflies (Enallagma civile) spotted in the central wetland area at Huntley Meadows Park. These individuals are males.

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Copyright © 2012 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved. www.wsanford.com

Autumn Meadowhawk dragonfly (female)

October 20, 2012

An Autumn Meadowhawk dragonfly (Sympetrum vicinum) spotted along the boardwalk that goes through the central wetland area at Huntley Meadows Park. This individual is a female, as indicated by the flanges beneath its eighth abdominal segment (used to scoop and hold a few drops of water during oviposition), and by the terminal appendages at the end of its abdomen.

Remember that all dragonflies and damselflies have a 10-segmented abdomen, numbered from front to back.

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Copyright © 2012 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved. www.wsanford.com

Autumn Meadowhawk dragonflies (males)

October 18, 2012

Several Autumn Meadowhawk dragonflies (Sympetrum vicinum) spotted on the boardwalk that goes through the central wetland area at Huntley Meadows Park. These individuals are males, as indicated by their red coloration and by the reddish “claspers” (terminal appendages) at the end of their abdomens.

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Copyright © 2012 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved. www.wsanford.com

Autumn Meadowhawk dragonflies (mating pair, in tandem)

October 16, 2012

A mating pair of Autumn Meadowhawk dragonflies (Sympetrum vicinum) spotted on the boardwalk that goes through the central wetland area at Huntley Meadows Park. Odonata, an order of insects including dragonflies and damselflies, reproduce in three stages: in tandem; in wheel (sometimes called “in heart” for damselflies); and oviposition. The dragonflies shown in the preceding photo gallery are “in tandem,” in which the male (shown right) uses “claspers” (terminal appendages) at the end of his abdomen to hold the female by her head. In this stage, the dragonflies are either going to copulate in wheel or they are resting between periods of oviposition in tandem; experience has shown the latter is more probable than the former.

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Copyright © 2012 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved. www.wsanford.com

Blue-faced Meadowhawk dragonfly (male) redux

October 14, 2012

The following photos show a Blue-faced Meadowhawk dragonfly (Sympetrum ambiguum) spotted along the boardwalk that goes through Huntley Meadows Park, near the edge of a wooded area. This individual is a male, as indicated by its red coloration and by the reddish “claspers” (terminal appendages) at the end of its abdomen.

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Males perch low around edge of shallow pools or dried-up ponds, often inconspicuous. Source Credit: Paulson, Dennis (2011-12-19). Dragonflies and Damselflies of the East (Princeton Field Guides) (Kindle Locations 10469-10470). Princeton University Press. Kindle Edition.

Notice how well-camouflaged the dragonfly is in the photo shown below.

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Special thanks to Louisa, my good friend and photowalking buddy, who actually spotted the dragonfly. Good eye, Louisa — “TeacherMan” thinks you earned an “A+” for the day!

Editor’s Note: According to Kevin Munroe, Park Manager at Huntley Meadows Park …

I think [12 October 2012] may be a new late season record in Northern Virginia for that species — I’ll check my records and let you know. … Your sighting is indeed a late season record for Northern Virginia — my previous late date was October 10.

Copyright © 2012 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved. www.wsanford.com

Eastern Pondhawk dragonfly (male) redux

October 12, 2012

An Eastern Pondhawk dragonfly (Erythemis simplicicollis) spotted along the shore of Accotink Bay. This individual is a male, as indicated by its blue coloration and by the white “claspers” (terminal appendages) at the end of its abdomen. The male Eastern Pondhawk’s green face distinguishes it from other similar looking blue dragonflies.

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Habitat: Accotink Bay Wildlife Refuge, a 1,200 acre preserve located at Army Garrison Fort Belvoir, Fairfax County, Virginia USA.

Copyright © 2012 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved. www.wsanford.com


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