Blue Corporal dragonfly terminal appendages

Blue Corporal (Ladona deplanata) is a member of the Skimmer Family of dragonflies that is commonly spotted during the spring months at many water bodies in the mid-Atlantic United States.

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.

Blue Corporal dragonfly (immature male)

01 MAY 2013 | MRA | Blue Corporal (immature male)

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.

Blue Corporal dragonfly (female)

01 MAY 2013 | MRA | Blue Corporal (immature female)

As male Blue Corporals mature their coloration turns black and dark blue, although some mature males turn a lighter shade of blue.

Blue Corporal dragonfly (male)

02 MAY 2013 | MRA | Blue Corporal (mature male)

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.

Blue Corporal dragonfly (mature female)

09 MAY 2013 | MRA | Blue Corporal (mature female)

Related Resources: Odonate Terminal Appendages.

Copyright © 2015 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

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2 Responses to “Blue Corporal dragonfly terminal appendages”

  1. Phenology | walter sanford's photoblog Says:

    […] This individual is a female, as indicated by her terminal appendages. […]

  2. Blue Corporal dragonflies (males) | walter sanford's photoblog Says:

    […] Several Blue Corporal dragonflies (Ladona deplanata) were spotted at Hidden Pond, Meadowood Recreation Area, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. All of the individuals featured in this post are males, as indicated by their coloration and terminal appendages. […]

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