A sampler of male dragonfly claspers (Part 2)

The theme of the “sampler series” is simple. Male dragonfly claspers come in a variety of shapes and sizes, but their function is identical for all species of dragonflies: male dragonflies use their claspers to grab and hold female dragonflies during mating.

There are seven families of dragonflies. Part 2 (of 2) features a sampler of select images showing male 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.

Emerald Family

The following image shows a Slender Baskettail dragonfly (Epitheca costalis) spotted in an open field along the trail to Hidden Pond, a small lake located at Meadowood Recreation Area.

Slender Baskettail dragonfly (male)

01 MAY 2013 | Meadowood Recreation Area | Slender Baskettail (male)

Skimmer Family

The next image shows a Bar-winged Skimmer dragonfly (Libellula axilena) spotted near a vernal pool in the forest at Huntley Meadows Park. Many members of the Skimmer Family have terminal appendages that look similar to the Bar-winged Skimmer, such as Painted Skimmer, Eastern Pondhawk, and Blue-faced Meadowhawk, to name a few species.

Bar-winged Skimmer dragonfly (young adult male)

31 MAY 2014 | Huntley Meadows Park | Bar-winged Skimmer (male)

The following image shows a battle-scarred Black Saddlebags dragonfly (Tramea lacerata) spotted alongside the boardwalk in the central wetland area hemi-marsh at Huntley Meadows Park. Black Saddlebags’ terminal appendages are unlike most members of the Skimmer Family.

Black Saddlebags dragonfly (male)

12 SEP 2014 | Huntley Meadows Park | Black Saddlebags (male)

Spiketail Family

The last image shows an Arrowhead Spiketail dragonfly (Cordulegaster obliqua) I discovered while exploring a small stream at a remote location in Huntley Meadows Park.

Arrowhead Spiketail dragonfly (male)

07 JUL 2014 | Huntley Meadows Park | Arrowhead Spiketail (male)

Related Resources:

Editor’s Notes: Part 1 (of 2) features a sampler of select images showing male dragonfly dragonfly claspers from the Clubtail Family, Cruiser Family, and Darner Family. The author has never been fortunate to photograph either species of the Petaltail Family.

Copyright © 2015 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

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8 Responses to “A sampler of male dragonfly claspers (Part 2)”

  1. Mike Powell Says:

    Great series, Walter. It’s rare to get such a close-up look at dragonfly anatomy and it’s fascinating to see this kind of comparison in a single posting. Your images do a wonderful job of illustrating the differences among the species.

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

    […] A sampler of male dragonfly claspers (Part 2) […]

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

    […] A sampler of male dragonfly claspers (Part 2) […]

  4. A sampler of male dragonfly claspers (Part 1) | walter sanford's photoblog Says:

    […] some of my digital photography and videography. « More terminal appendages A sampler of male dragonfly claspers (Part 2) […]

  5. Lova Says:

    Enjoying this series. Thank you

  6. Lova Says:

    Thank you Walter

  7. Black Saddlebags dragonfly (male) | walter sanford's photoblog Says:

    […] A Black Saddlebags dragonfly (Tramea lacerata) was spotted near a vernal pool in a remote location at Huntley Meadows Park. This individual is a male, as indicated by his terminal appendages. […]

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