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.
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.
- Dragonfly terminal appendages (male, female) [Painted Skimmer]
- More dragonfly terminal appendages [Blue-faced Meadowhawk]
- A sampler of male dragonfly claspers (Part 2)
- Odonate Terminal Appendages
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.
Tags: Aeshna umbrosa, Ashy Clubtail dragonfly, cerci, claspers, Clubtail Family, Cruiser Family, Darner Family, Didymops transversa, epiproct, Gomphus lividus, male, Meadowood Recreation Area, Shadow Darner dragonfly, Stream Cruiser dragonfly, terminal appendages, wildlife photography