Great Spreadwing damselfly (male)

This post features photos of a Great Spreadwing damselfly (Archilestes grandis) spotted on 20 October 2014 near a vernal pool in the forest at Huntley Meadows Park. This individual is a male, as indicated by its coloration and terminal appendages.

Great Spreadwing damselfly (male)

Looking at the next photo you may be wondering, “What’s up with this guy’s gymnastic position?” Male dragonflies must prepare for mating with females.

In dragonflies, males of most, possibly all, species transfer sperm [from the tip of their abdomen] to their second segment before hooking up with a female. Source Credit: Paulson, Dennis (2011-12-19). Dragonflies and Damselflies of the East (Princeton Field Guides) (Kindle Locations 370-371). Princeton University Press. Kindle Edition.

Remember that all dragonflies and damselflies have a 10-segmented abdomen, numbered from front to back.

Presumably male damselflies prepare for mating too, although in this case, I think the Great Spreadwing is simply stretching. I have observed several male Great Spreadwings flexing like this without the tip of their abdomen and second segment touching.

Great Spreadwing damselfly (male)

Great Spreadwing damselflies don’t live by yoga alone! The last photo shows the damselfly eating a smaller black insect, possibly a spider. I think the contrasting colors in this photo make it pop.

Great Spreadwing damselfly (male, eating an unknown smaller insect)

Copyright © 2014 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

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One Response to “Great Spreadwing damselfly (male)”

  1. Male gymnast | walter sanford's photoblog Says:

    […] Looking at the next three photos you may be wondering, “What’s up with this guy’s gymnastic poses?” I think the Great Spreadwing is simply stretching rather than preparing for mating. […]

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