The wheel goes around and ’round

I witnessed what can be described appropriately as an orgy of mating Autumn Meadowhawk dragonflies (Sympetrum vicinum) at Huntley Meadows Park on 06 November 2013. While standing in the same spot for an hour-or-so, I photographed six (6) mating pairs “in wheel” and seven (7) mating pairs “in tandem,” in addition to several other mating pairs I was unable to photograph. Also, I shot photos of eight (8) individual females — an unusually high number to see perching near the water! That’s a personal best and may be an all-time record for the species.

The following photos show one of the mating pairs in wheel. All dragonflies and damselflies have a 10-segmented abdomen: male dragonfly secondary genitalia are located in segments two and three (2 and 3); female genitalia in segment eight (8). Therefore, the male dragonfly (red) is on top; the female (brown) is on the bottom.

Autumn Meadowhawk dragonflies (mating pair, in wheel) Autumn Meadowhawk dragonflies (mating pair, in wheel)

Copyright © 2013 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

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One Response to “The wheel goes around and ’round”

  1. Mike Powell Says:

    Wonderful shots. The mating frenzy may well have been a last hurrah before the colder weather sets in for good. As the old saying goes, you have to make hay while the sun is shining.

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