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”).
(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.