A sampler of male dragonfly claspers (Part 1)

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”). Claspers come in a variety of shapes and sizes, but their function is identical for all species of dragonflies.

There are seven families of dragonflies. Part 1 (of 2) features a sampler of select images showing male dragonfly claspers from the Clubtail Family, Cruiser Family, and Darner Family.

Clubtail Family

The following image shows a male Ashy Clubtail dragonfly (Gomphus lividus) perching on the ground in a field located near Giles Run at Meadowood Recreation Area in Fairfax County, Virginia.

Ashy- or Lancet Clubtail

02 MAY 2014 | Meadowood Recreation Area | Ashy Clubtail (male)

Cruiser Family

The next image shows a male Stream Cruiser dragonfly (Didymops transversa) spotted along “Beaver Pond Loop Trail” at Accotink Bay Wildlife Refuge, a 1,200 acre preserve located at Army Garrison Fort Belvoir, Fairfax County, Virginia.

Stream Cruiser dragonfly (male)

02 May 2013 | Accotink Bay Wildlife Refuge | Stream Cruiser (male)

Darner Family

The last image shows a male Shadow Darner dragonfly (Aeshna umbrosa) spotted near a vernal pool in the forest at Huntley Meadows Park.

Shadow Darner dragonfly (male)

24 OCT2014 | Huntley Meadows Park | Shadow Darner (male)

Related Resources:

Editor’s Notes: Part 2 (of 2) will feature a sampler of select images showing male dragonfly dragonfly claspers from the Emerald Family, Skimmer Family, and Spiketail Family. The author never has been fortunate to photograph either species of the Petaltail Family.

Copyright © 2015 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

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6 Responses to “A sampler of male dragonfly claspers (Part 1)”

  1. Terminal appendages (male, female) | walter sanford's photoblog Says:

    […] appendages”) and a lower unpaired epiproct (“inferior appendage”). Male dragonfly terminal appendages don’t look exactly the same for all species of dragonflies, but their function is […]

  2. More terminal appendages | walter sanford's photoblog Says:

    […] of my digital photography and videography. « Terminal appendages (male, female) A sampler of male dragonfly claspers (Part 1) […]

  3. A sampler of male dragonfly claspers (Part 2) | walter sanford's photoblog Says:

    […] Showcasing some of my digital photography and videography. « A sampler of male dragonfly claspers (Part 1) […]

  4. Stream Cruiser dragonfly (male) | walter sanford's photoblog Says:

    […] 10 APR 2017 | Accotink Bay Wildlife Refuge | Stream Cruiser (male) […]

  5. Ashy Clubtail dragonfly (male) | walter sanford's photoblog Says:

    […] An Ashy Clubtail dragonfly (Phanogomphus lividus) was spotted during a photowalk at Riverbend Park, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. This individual is a male, as indicated by his indented hind wings and terminal appendages. […]

  6. Green-eyed Stream Cruiser | walter sanford's photoblog Says:

    […] mid-size stream in Fairfax County, Virginia USA. This individual is a male, as indicated by his terminal appendages and indented hind […]

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