Gomphidae exuvia

A dragonfly exuvia was spotted by a friend at an unknown location in Northern Virginia. This specimen is a member of the Family Gomphidae (Clubtails). Here’s the decision tree I used to tentatively identify the exuvia as a member of the Clubtail Family.

  • The specimen has a flat labium (not mask-like).
  • Antennae are club-like (not thin and thread-like, as in Aeshnidae).
  • Eyes not exceptionally large compared to the size of the head (not large, as in Aeshnidae).

Gomphidae is the second largest family of dragonflies, so it could be challenging to identify this specimen to the genus and species level.

Photo Set 1

A dragonfly exuvia spotted at an unknown location in Northern Virginia. This specimen may be a member of the Family Gomphidae (Clubtails).

Head-on view, ventral side up.

Notice the labium isn’t mask-like, that is, doesn’t cover the face of the larva/exuvia.

A dragonfly exuvia spotted at an unknown location in Northern Virginia. This specimen may be a member of the Family Gomphidae (Clubtails).

Head-on view, rotated 180°.

A dragonfly exuvia spotted at an unknown location in Northern Virginia. This specimen may be a member of the Family Gomphidae (Clubtails).

Anal pyramid view, ventral side up.

A dragonfly exuvia spotted at an unknown location in Northern Virginia. This specimen may be a member of the Family Gomphidae (Clubtails).

Head-on view, dorsal side up.

A dragonfly exuvia spotted at an unknown location in Northern Virginia. This specimen may be a member of the Family Gomphidae (Clubtails).

Lateral view, right side (facing forward).

A dragonfly exuvia spotted at an unknown location in Northern Virginia. This specimen may be a member of the Family Gomphidae (Clubtails).

Lateral view, left side (facing forward).

Photo Set 2

A dragonfly exuvia spotted at an unknown location in Northern Virginia. This specimen may be a member of the Family Gomphidae (Clubtails).

Dorsal view.

A dragonfly exuvia spotted at an unknown location in Northern Virginia. This specimen may be a member of the Family Gomphidae (Clubtails).

Ventral view.

Photo Set 3

Gomphidae-exuvia_focus-stack_Ver3

Composite image.

The preceding composite image is a stack of 11 focus layers, moving from front-to-back across the face and head of the exuvia. Notice the labium isn’t mask-like, that is, doesn’t cover the face of the larva/exuvia. Also notice both antennae are club-like and most of the right antenna (facing forward) is missing.

Photo Set 4

The following macro photo shows a close-up of the face and head of the exuvia. The photo clearly shows the flat labium doesn’t cover any part of the face. Look closely at the full-size version of this image and you will notice two movable hooks at the front of the labium (see annotated illustration); they are reddish in color and the one on the left (relative to the photo) is more clearly in focus than the one on the right.

A dragonfly exuvia spotted at an unknown location in Northern Virginia. This specimen may be a member of the Family Gomphidae (Clubtails).

24x magnification.

Most, but not all, species of Gomphidae larvae are burrowers. The specimen is noticeably dirty — perhaps that indicates this individual is a burrowing species of clubtail dragonfly.

Tech Tips:

The following equipment was used to shoot the preceding photographs:

Adobe Photoshop CC 2015 was used for minor touch-up work on the background of all photos.

Related Resources:

Copyright © 2016 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

Advertisements

Tags: , , , ,

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: