Autumn Meadowhawk dragonflies (mating pair, in tandem)

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

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