Brown Spiketail dragonfly (female)

The following photo gallery shows a female Brown Spiketail dragonfly (Cordulegaster bilineata) spotted on 09 May 2013, 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 what field marks can be used to identify this individual as 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.

Brown-Spiketail_f_anatomy

All female dragonflies have a pair of cerci (superior appendages) that have little or no function. Notice the spike-shaped subgenital plate.

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.

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6 Responses to “Brown Spiketail dragonfly (female)”

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    […] Brown Spiketail dragonfly (female) […]

  5. Brown Spiketail dragonfly (male) | walter sanford's photoblog Says:

    […] first Brown Spiketail dragonfly (Cordulegaster bilineata) was a female spotted on 01 May 2013 at Meadowood Recreation Area in Fairfax County, Virginia USA. That was the […]

  6. New Life List additions in 2018 (odonates) | walter sanford's photoblog Says:

    […] bilineata) was spotted at Occoquan Regional Park, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. I saw a female Brown Spiketail on 09 May 2013. This individual is one of several males that I spotted on 07 and 11 May […]

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