Male or female Widow Skimmer dragonfly?

Widow Skimmer dragonflies (Libellula luctuosa) display sexual dimorphism. Although mature males and females look different, immature males and females look similar. Terminal appendages may be used to differentiate immature males from females.

Step 2. Learn to identify male-versus-female terminal appendagesSource Credit: Five steps to the next level of dragonfly spotting.

This post features photos of two Widow Skimmer dragonflies that appear virtually identical: one is a female; the other is an immature male. The simplest way to tell the difference between the two dragonflies is by looking at their terminal appendages.

The first photo shows a female Widow Skimmer dragonfly perching alongside Plantation Drive in the community of Woodlawn Village (near Jackson Miles Abbott Wetland Refuge), Fairfax County, Virginia USA.

A Widow Skimmer dragonfly (Libellula luctuosa) spotted at Woodlawn Village (near Jackson Miles Abbott Wetland Refuge), Fairfax County, Virginia USA. This individual is a female.

24 JUL 2015 | Woodlawn Village | Widow Skimmer (female)

The last photo shows an immature male Widow Skimmer perching in a small meadow near a vernal pool at Huntley Meadows Park (HMP).

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

06 JUN 2015 | HMP | Widow Skimmer (immature male)

Related Resource: Widow Skimmer dragonfly terminal appendages.

Copyright © 2015 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

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One Response to “Male or female Widow Skimmer dragonfly?”

  1. Mike Powell Says:

    Thanks for the helpful reminder, Walter, and the wonderful images. Like many others, I have been incorrect in some of my identifications by jumping to the easy and incorrect assumption that a dragonfly was a female merely on the basis of its coloration.

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