The following video features an Autumn Meadowhawk dragonfly (Sympetrum vicinum) spotted on 15 November 2013 during a photowalk along the boardwalk in the hemi-marsh at Huntley Meadows Park. This individual is a female, as indicated by its coloration and terminal appendages.
Dragonflies breathe through small holes in the underside of their thorax and abdomen called “spiracles.” Notice the dragonfly’s thorax and abdomen expanding and contracting as she inhales and exhales.
The female appears to be grooming while perching on the warm surface of the boardwalk, using her front legs to wipe her eyes and face. The author has observed many species of dragonflies engaged in similar behavior.
Tech Tip: The preceding video looks better viewed in full-screen mode.
- Common Whitetail dragonfly (male, breathing) – YouTube video (0:24)
- Windshield Wipers – stop-action photos of another female Autumn Meadowhawk dragonfly grooming herself
- Dragonfly grooming – YouTube video (2:26) featuring a male Blue Dasher dragonfly (Pachydiplax longipennis)
Copyright © 2015 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.