The following movie features a Painted Skimmer dragonfly (Libellula semifasciata) spotted on 20 May 2015 during a photowalk alongside the wetlands at Huntley Meadows Park. This individual is a female, as indicated by its terminal appendages.
Dragonflies breathe through small holes in the underside of their thorax and abdomen called “spiracles.” Notice the dragonfly’s thorax and abdomen expanding and contracting as she inhales and exhales.
The female appears to be grooming while perching on vegetation, using her front legs to wipe her eyes and face. The author has observed many species of dragonflies engaged in similar behavior.
Tech Tips: The preceding movie looks better viewed in full-screen mode.
The video clips used to create this movie were shot on a very windy day. I used a tripod for my camera and centered the subject in each clip, but the wind caused the dragonfly to drift off-center at times. Not that I’m a perfectionist or anything.
- Common Whitetail dragonfly (male, breathing) – YouTube video (0:24)
- Autumn Meadowhawk dragonfly (female, breathing and grooming) – YouTube video (0:31)
- Windshield Wipers – stop-action photos of another female Autumn Meadowhawk dragonfly grooming herself
- Dragonfly grooming – YouTube video (2:26) featuring a male Blue Dasher dragonfly (Pachydiplax longipennis)
Copyright © 2015 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.