Malformed odonates

Among hundreds of dragonflies spotted during the past few years, some were obviously malformed.

Some [odonates] don’t emerge properly and end up with damaged wings or bent abdomens. I have seen adults with slightly bent abdomens competing and mating normally, but if the wings don’t develop normally, those genes are probably leaving the gene pool. Source Credit: Beaton, Giff (2007-03-15). Dragonflies and Damselflies of Georgia and the Southeast. University of Georgia Press.

The following retrospective is presented in reverse chronological order.

A male Common Green Darner dragonfly (Anax junius) was spotted at Huntley Meadows Park on 28 April 2015. This individual has a malformed wing: one of its two hind wings didn’t expand to full-size during emergence.

Common Green Darner dragonfly (male, malformed wing)

A male Blue-faced Meadowhawk dragonfly (Sympetrum ambiguum) was spotted at Huntley Meadows Park on 20 October 2014. This individual has a slight bend in its abdomen between S5 and S6. Remember that “S5 and S6″ refers to abdominal Segments 5 and 6 (of 10), numbered from front to back.

Blue-faced Meadowhawk dragonfly (male, malformed abdomen)

A male Autumn Meadowhawk dragonfly (Sympetrum vicinum), shown below, was spotted at Huntley Meadows Park on 15 November 2013. Notice that this individual has a slightly bent abdomen.

The following gallery shows a female Blue-faced Meadowhawk dragonfly (Sympetrum ambiguum) spotted at Huntley Meadows Park on 17 September 2013. This individual is an andromorph that has a slightly malformed abdomen.

The following male Slaty Skimmer dragonfly (Libellula incesta) was spotted at Huntley Meadows Park on 06 June 2012. This individual has an extremely malformed abdomen.

A female Spangled Skimmer dragonfly (Libellula cyanea) was spotted on 04 June 2012 in a large meadow far from the central wetland area at Huntley Meadows Park. This dragonfly, shown below, has a slightly malformed abdomen.

The following immature male Great Blue Skimmer dragonfly (Libellula vibrans) was spotted at Huntley Meadows Park on 17 May 2012. This individual has a slightly malformed wing. He was very skittish and flew away after just a couple of photos, so I’m guessing it went on to live a normal life as an adult.

Copyright © 2013 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

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One Response to “Malformed odonates”

  1. Mike Powell Says:

    Fascinating set of images. It looks like the physical deformities did not interfere with most of the daily activities of the dragonflies, like flying and eating, though I wonder if it was a factor in mating.

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