Common Green Darner dragonfly (female)

Common Green Darner dragonfly (female)

On 08 May 2014, I spotted a Common Green Darner dragonfly (Anax junius) perching deep in the shadows of vegetation growing along a dirt trail at Meadowood Recreation Area. Dragonflies shelter in dense vegetation sometimes to avoid predators, including aggressive adult males of the same species.

I tentatively identified this specimen as young male, based upon the light blue coloration along the sides of its abdomen. Turns out other field markers are more definitive: This individual is a female.

It’s a female. Note the brown stripe extending onto abdominal segment 2. Segment 2 is typically all pale on males. Also viewing at full resolution, the rear margin of the occiput is not straight. Females have blunt dark colored “teeth” back there which makes the margin look wavy. Source Credit: Ed Lam, author and illustrator of Damselflies of the Northeast, Northeast Odonata Facebook group.

Remember that all damselflies and dragonflies have 10 abdominal segments, numbered from front to back.

It is uncommon to spot a darner perching. Dragonflies are classified as either “fliers” or “perchers,” based upon their feeding habits. Common Green Darners are fliers, foraging by “hawking” other flying insects. (Note: Darners are called hawkers in the United Kingdom.)

Copyright © 2014 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

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