An unusual position

Look closely at the unusual position of the following male Autumn Meadowhawk dragonfly (Sympetrum vicinum), spotted perching on the boardwalk at Huntley Meadows Park on 22 October 2013. The first thing you notice is the funny way in which the dragonfly is tilting its head to look at me. Also notice the unusual position of its terminal appendages. What’s up with that? (Contrast the unusual position of this individual’s terminal appendages with a more typical position, as shown by another male spotted on 11 November 2013.)

Autumn Meadowhawk dragonfly (male)

Photo 1. Autumn Meadowhawk dragonfly (male), 22 October 2013.

Segue to a mating pair of Autumn Meadowhawks spotted at Huntley Meadows Park on 06 November 2013. The pair is “in tandem.” Notice the postion of the male’s terminal appendages, highlighted in Slide 2 and Slide 3. (See full-size versions of Slide 1 and the composite image shown in Slide 2 and Slide 3)

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Evidence suggests it’s probable the individual male spotted on 22 October (shown in Photo 1 and Photo 2) mated before the photographs were taken, and its terminal appendages hadn’t “relaxed” afterward.

Autumn Meadowhawk dragonfly (male)

Photo 2. Autumn Meadowhawk dragonfly (male), 22 October 2013.

Copyright © 2013 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

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