Old favorites, revisited

I have spent a lot of time photowalking at Paul Spring Park, one of seven small parks owned and maintained by the Community Association of Hollin Hills, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. Paul Spring is a small year-round stream that flows through Paul Spring Park; damselflies and dragonflies are common along the creek during summer.

This post features photos of a Needham’s Skimmer dragonfly (Libellula needhami), an old favorite spotted on 29 June 2014 during a photowalk at one of my favorite places. This individual is a male, as indicated by its coloration and terminal appendages.

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All male dragonflies have three terminal appendages, collectively called “claspers,” that are used to grab and hold female dragonflies during mating: an upper pair of cerci (“superior appendages”) and a lower unpaired epiproct (“inferior appendage”). All three appendages are clearly shown in full-size version of the following photo.

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Copyright © 2014 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

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2 Responses to “Old favorites, revisited”

  1. Dave Says:

    Thanks for your site I have been a birder for over forty years, but still haven’t spent enough time on the dragonflies. We saw a Needham’s Skimmer today in Reston and your photos helped me identify it. Absolutely amazing creatures.

    • waltersanford Says:

      Odonate watching (dragonflies and damselflies) is the new birding, according to several professional naturalists I know. I didn’t get into the hobby until after I retired several years ago. It’s never too late to start hunting odonates, Dave!

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