The following photos show a Black Saddlebags dragonfly (Tramea lacerata) spotted alongside the boardwalk in the central wetland area hemi-marsh at Huntley Meadows Park on 10 September 2014. This individual is a male, as indicated by its coloration and terminal appendages.
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”).
Cerci very long (more than twice as long as epiproct) and black. Source Credit: Paulson, Dennis (2011-12-19). Dragonflies and Damselflies of the East (Princeton Field Guides) (Kindle Locations 11241-11242). Princeton University Press. Kindle Edition.
Both the cerci and epiproct are shown clearly in the preceding photograph, and not as clearly in the following photo.
It is uncommon to see the broad-winged skimmers from the genus Tramea perching. Dragonflies are classified as either “fliers” or “perchers,” based upon their feeding habits. Black Saddlebags are fliers.
Black Saddlebags is one of at least five major species of dragonflies known to be migratory in North America. See interactive three-dimensional (3-D) virtual imagery of the five migratory dragonflies, including Black Saddlebags, provided by the Migratory Dragonfly Partnership.
Related Resources: Digital Dragonflies, presenting high-resolution digital scans of living dragonflies.
- Genus Tramea | Tramea lacerata | Black Saddlebags | male | top view
- Genus Tramea | Tramea lacerata | Black Saddlebags | male | side view
Copyright © 2014 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.