The following photo gallery shows a female Brown Spiketail dragonfly (Cordulegaster bilineata) perching near the ground in an open field along the trail to Hidden Pond, a small lake located at Meadowood Recreation Area in Fairfax County, Virginia USA.
Why are Spiketail dragonflies called “spiketails,” and how do I know this individual is a female? The answer to both questions is illustrated in the following annotated close-up photograph of the posterior end of the Brown Spiketail dragonfly’s abdomen.
Spiketail dragonflies are so named because the female’s long [subgenital plate], or egg-laying organ, extends beyond the tip of the abdomen. Source Credit: New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.
Thanks to Richard Orr, renowned expert on dragonflies and damselflies of the mid-Atlantic region, for verifying my tentative indentification of both the gender of the dragonfly and some of its anatomical parts.
Related Resources: Odonate Terminal Appendages.
Copyright © 2013 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.