On 07 July 2014, I discovered an Arrowhead Spiketail dragonfly (Cordulegaster obliqua) while exploring a small stream at a remote location in Huntley Meadows Park. Arrowhead Spiketails are an uncommon species of dragonfly formerly unknown to occur at Huntley Meadows Park. According to Kevin Munroe, Park Manager at Huntley Meadows and author of Dragonflies of Northern Virginia, my discovery sets a new flight record for the latest date Arrowhead Spiketails have been observed in Northern Virginia.
I noticed the Arrowhead Spiketail as it patrolled back-and-forth down the middle of the stream, about six inches (6”) above the water. After hours of searching, I discovered a location near one end of the dragonfly’s long flight path where it stopped to perch several times.
This individual is a male, as indicated by its terminal appendages and the “indentations” on its hind wings (near the body). [See “Related Resources,” below, for images that show female terminal appendages (notice the ovipositor visible between her cerci) and hind wing shape (rounded rather than indented).]
The blue orb located near the upper-right side of the following photo is probably an artifact of my camera flash rather than a ghostly apparition.
Related Resources: Digital Dragonflies, presenting high-resolution digital scans of living dragonflies.
- Genus Cordulegaster | Cordulegester obliqua | Arrowhead Spiketail | male | top view
- Genus Cordulegaster | Cordulegester obliqua | Arrowhead Spiketail | female | top view
- Genus Cordulegaster | Cordulegester obliqua | Arrowhead Spiketail | female | side view
Editor’s Note: “Odonatacoccygia” is defined as seeing shapes in the patterns on odonates, and I should know, since I coined the term! Look at the yellow markings on top of the thorax, shown best in the full-size version of Photo 1. Do you see a bucktooth Energizer Bunny® (wearing sunglasses)? I do!
Copyright © 2014 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.