Common Sanddragon terminal appendages

Common Sanddragon (Progomphus obscurus) is a member of the Clubtail Family of dragonflies that is spotted during June and July in mid-Atlantic United States like Virginia. Common Sanddragons are habitat specialists that prefer sandy woodland streams, so don’t look for them in wetland areas like the hemi-marsh at Huntley Meadows Park.

Male and female Common Sandragons look similar, especially their coloration. Terminal appendages may be used to differentiate males from females.

Female dragonflies have a pair of cerci (superior appendages) that have little or no function. (See a full-size version of the following image, without annotation.)

A Common Sanddragon dragonfly (Progomphus obscurus) spotted at Huntley Meadows Park, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. This individual is a female.

17 JUN 2015 | Huntley Meadows Park | Common Sanddragon (female)

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”).

A Common Sanddragon dragonfly (Progomphus obscurus) spotted at Huntley Meadows Park, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. This individual is a male.

20 JUN 2014 | Huntley Meadows Park | Common Sanddragon (male)

Look closely at the full-size version of the following composite image contrasting the terminal appendages of a male and female Common Sanddragon dragonfly. One look at the individual with the distinctive large yellow cerci and you know which one is the male!

A Common Sanddragon dragonfly (Progomphus obscurus) spotted at Wickford Park, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. This individual is a male.

Composite image: male (background photo); female (inset photo).

The preceding male Common Sanddragon dragonfly was spotted on 26 June 2014 at Wickford Park. The female shown in the inset photo is the same one spotted on 17 June 2015 at Huntley Meadows Park.

Related Resources: Digital Dragonflies, presenting high-resolution digital scans of living dragonflies.

  • Genus Progomphus | Progomphus obscurus | Common Sanddragon | female | top view
  • Genus Progomphus | Progomphus obscurus | Common Sanddragon | male | top view
  • Genus Progomphus | Progomphus obscurus | Common Sanddragon | male | side view

Copyright © 2015 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

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3 Responses to “Common Sanddragon terminal appendages”

  1. A day at the beach | walter sanford's photoblog Says:

    […] 08 JUN 2016 | Wickford Park | Common Sanddragon (male) […]

  2. Common Sanddragon dragonfly (male) | walter sanford's photoblog Says:

    […] A Common Sanddragon dragonfly (Progomphus obscurus) was spotted during a photowalk along Dogue Creek at Wickford Park, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. This individual is a male, as indicated by his coloration and terminal appendages. […]

  3. Common Sanddragon dragonfly (male) | walter sanford's photoblog Says:

    […] 08 JUN 2016 | Wickford Park | Common Sanddragon (male) […]

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