Immature males appear similar to immature/mature females of the same species for many types of dragonflies that display sexual dimorphism. This is true for many members of the Skimmer Family of dragonflies, such as Great Blue Skimmer (Libellula vibrans), Slaty Skimmer (Libellula incesta), and the following Blue Corporal dragonflies spotted at Hidden Pond, Meadowood Recreation Area (MRA).
Immature male and female Blue Corporal dragonflies are nearly identical in appearance except for their terminal appendages — the abdomen of both genders is black and copper in coloration.
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”).
Female dragonflies have a pair of cerci (superior appendages) that have little or no function.
As male Blue Corporals mature their coloration turns black and dark blue, although some mature males turn a lighter shade of blue.
Mature females turn shades of light grayish-tan. Although the terminal appendages aren’t shown clearly in the following annotated photo, the image illustrates the change in coloration that occurs as females mature.
Related Resources: Odonate Terminal Appendages.
Copyright © 2015 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.
Tags: Blue Corporal dragonfly, cerci, claspers, epiproct, immature female, immature male, Ladona deplanata, mature female, mature male, Meadowood Recreation Area, sexual dimorphism, Skimmer Family, terminal appendages, wildlife photography