Star Spangled Fourth

Happy Independence Day! The stars of this post are Spangled Skimmer dragonflies (Libellula cyanea) spotted in the fields at Huntley Meadows Park.

The Spangled Skimmer is easily differentiated from similar-looking brown-and-yellow and/or blue dragonflies by its distinctive black-and-white pterostigmas located along the leading edge of all four wings (toward the wingtips).

Females

A Spangled Skimmer dragonfly (Libellula cyanea) spotted  at Huntley Meadows Park, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. This individual is a female.

14 MAY 2015 | Huntley Meadows Park | Spangled Skimmer (female)

A Spangled Skimmer dragonfly (Libellula cyanea) spotted  at Huntley Meadows Park, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. This individual is a female.

14 MAY 2015 | Huntley Meadows Park | Spangled Skimmer (female)

Female dragonflies have a pair of cerci (superior appendages) that have little or no function.

A Spangled Skimmer dragonfly (Libellula cyanea) spotted  at Huntley Meadows Park, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. This individual is a female.

22 MAY 2015 | Huntley Meadows Park | Spangled Skimmer (female)

Notice the following female doesn’t look as “fresh” as the females spotted during May.

A Spangled Skimmer dragonfly (Libellula cyanea) spotted  at Huntley Meadows Park, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. This individual is a female.

29 JUN 2015 | Huntley Meadows Park | Spangled Skimmer (female)

Female Spangled Skimmers have a pair of flanges beneath their eighth abdominal segment (S8) that are used to scoop water when laying eggs (oviposition), hence the family name “Skimmer.” Remember that all dragonflies and damselflies have a 10-segmented abdomen, numbered from front to back.

A Spangled Skimmer dragonfly (Libellula cyanea) spotted  at Huntley Meadows Park, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. This individual is a female.

29 JUN 2015 | Huntley Meadows Park | Spangled Skimmer (female)

Males

Immature male Spangled Skimmers and immature/adult female Spangled Skimmers (shown above) are nearly identical in appearance except for their terminal appendages.

A Spangled Skimmer dragonfly (Libellula cyanea) spotted  at Huntley Meadows Park, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. This individual is an immature male.

22 MAY 2015 | Huntley Meadows Park | Spangled Skimmer (immature male)

Contrast the astounding difference in appearance between immature male and adult male Spangled Skimmers.

A Spangled Skimmer dragonfly (Libellula cyanea) spotted  at Huntley Meadows Park, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. This individual is an adult male.

26 MAY 2015 | Huntley Meadows Park | Spangled Skimmer (adult male)

Related Resources:

Copyright © 2015 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

Advertisements

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

One Response to “Star Spangled Fourth”

  1. Mike Powell Says:

    Great post for Independence Day with wonderful images of these distinctive dragonflies.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: