Common Baskettail dragonfly (male)

Common Baskettail (Epitheca cynosura) is a member of the Emerald Family of dragonflies that is seen during early spring in mid-Atlantic United States like Virginia.

The following annotated image shows a male Common Baskettail dragonfly spotted on 20 April 2016 at Accotink Bay Wildlife Refuge. All 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 Baskettail dragonfly (Epitheca cynosura) spotted at Accotink Bay Wildlife Refuge, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. This individual is a male.

(See a full-size version of the original photo, without annotation.)

I think baskettail cerci look “rubberized,” like the handles of metal tools made for working with electricity. Whenever I see this distinctive field marker, I know the dragonfly is probably a species of baskettail.

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

  • Genus Epitheca | Epitheca cynosura | Common Baskettail | male | top view
  • Genus Epitheca | Epitheca cynosura | Common Baskettail | male | side view

See also What was your first clue? – a tutorial illustrating female Common Baskettail reproductive anatomy.

Copyright © 2016 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

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6 Responses to “Common Baskettail dragonfly (male)”

  1. What was your first clue? | walter sanford's photoblog Says:

    […] Resource: Common Baskettail dragonfly (male) – a tutorial illustrating male reproductive […]

  2. Common Baskettail dragonfly (male, in flight) | walter sanford's photoblog Says:

    […] Recreation Area, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. This individual is a male, as indicated by its terminal appendages. Notice the male’s bright blue-green eyes in the preceding photo. It’s easy to see why […]

  3. Uncommonly cooperative Common Baskettail | walter sanford's photoblog Says:

    […] This individual is a male, as indicated by its terminal appendages. […]

  4. Common Baskettail dragonfly (male) | walter sanford's photoblog Says:

    […] 13 APR 2017 | OBNWR | Common Baskettail (male) […]

  5. Late-stage emergent baskettail dragonfly | walter sanford's photoblog Says:

    […] and thick abdomen. Common Baskettail females have shorter cerci and a thicker abdomen than males of the same […]

  6. Non-stop flight | walter sanford's photoblog Says:

    […] Pond, Jackson Miles Abbott Wetland Refuge, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. This individual is a male, in […]

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