Widow Skimmer dragonfly (female)

The following gallery features a Widow Skimmer dragonfly (Libellula luctuosa). This individual is a female, as indicated by its coloration and terminal appendages.

Notice anything unusual about Photo 1? Female dragonflies have a pair of cerci (superior appendages) at the end of their abdomen, so what is the third “appendage” between the cerci? Well, I may have scared the excrement out of the dragonfly!

This specimen was spotted on the earthen dam at Hidden Pond, a small lake located at Meadowood Recreation Area in Fairfax County, Virginia USA.

You may be much more likely to find females, as well as immatures, away from water, but males are much more easily found at the water. Source Credit: Paulson, Dennis (2011-12-19). Dragonflies and Damselflies of the East (Princeton Field Guides) (Kindle Location 639). Princeton University Press. Kindle Edition.

It’s worth noting I found one female Widow Skimmer dragonfly near water and one mature male far from water (shown in my last post) during the same photowalk — usually more male dragonflies than females are seen near water.

Copyright © 2013 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

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