This individual is a mature male that has mated many times, as indicated by his coloration, terminal appendages, and scratches on the abdomen.
Males that have mated often have marks on their abdomen where the female legs have scratched them. This is especially obvious in species in which males develop pruinosity, as the pruinosity on the midabdomen is scratched off, and the signs are visible at some distance. Source Credit: Paulson, Dennis (2011-12-19). Dragonflies and Damselflies of the East (Princeton Field Guides) (Kindle Locations 390-392). Princeton University Press. Kindle Edition.
Contrast the appearance of the mature male Widow Skimmer with the following immature male, spotted at Huntley Meadows Park (HMP). Notice the mature male has two features that differentiate it from the immature male: white wing spots; and white pruinescence covering part of its thorax and all of its abdomen.
“Maturation,” the title of this post, also refers to my growth as an odonate hunter and photographer/photo editor. One look at the following photographs of the first Widow Skimmer I saw in the field, and it’s evident I’ve progressed to a higher level of dragonfly spotting during the past three years.
The preceding gallery features a male Widow Skimmer spotted at Lake Allen, Patuxent Research Refuge (North Tract). Admittedly not my best work, these photos were taken the first time I used a DSLR camera.
Copyright © 2015 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.
Tags: Huntley Meadows Park, immature male, Jackson Miles Abbott Wetland Refuge, Libellula luctuosa, mature male, Mulligan Pond, Patuxent Research Refuge, pruinescence, terminal appendages, Widow Skimmer dragonfly, wildlife photography