Needham’s Skimmer dragonfly terminal appendages

Several Needham’s Skimmer dragonflies (Libellula needhami) were spotted at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge (OBNWR), Prince William County, Virginia USA.

Mature male

The first individual is a mature male, as indicated by his red coloration and terminal appendages.

A Needham's Skimmer dragonfly (Libellula needhami) spotted at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge, Prince William County, Virginia USA. This individual is a mature male.

18 JUN 2016 | OBNWR | Needham’s Skimmer (mature male)

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

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”).

Female

The next individual is a female, as indicated by her mostly yellow coloration and terminal appendages. I love a good head-tilt!

A Needham's Skimmer dragonfly (Libellula needhami) spotted at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge, Prince William County, Virginia USA. This individual is a female.

18 JUN 2016 | OBNWR | Needham’s Skimmer (female)

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

Female dragonflies have a pair of cerci (superior appendages) that have little or no function.

Immature male

The last individual is an immature male, as indicated by his mostly yellow coloration and terminal appendages. Immature males and females are nearly identical in appearance except for their terminal appendages.

A Needham's Skimmer dragonfly (Libellula needhami) spotted at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge, Prince William County, Virginia USA. This individual is an immature male.

18 JUN 2016 | OBNWR | Needham’s Skimmer (immature male)

Copyright © 2016 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

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5 Responses to “Needham’s Skimmer dragonfly terminal appendages”

  1. Needham’s Skimmer dragonfly (female) | walter sanford's photoblog Says:

    […] A Needham’s Skimmer dragonfly (Libellula needhami) was spotted at Meadowood Recreation Area (MRA). This individual is a female, as indicated by her terminal appendages. […]

  2. Needham’s Skimmer dragonflies (males) | walter sanford's photoblog Says:

    […] Two Needham’s Skimmer dragonflies (Libellula needhami) were spotted during a photowalk along Dogue Creek, Huntley Meadows Park (HMP). Both individuals are males, as indicated by their terminal appendages. […]

  3. More Needham’s Skimmer dragonflies | walter sanford's photoblog Says:

    […] The following photos show two females, as indicated by their coloration and terminal appendages. […]

  4. Top 10 Photos of 2016 | walter sanford's photoblog Says:

    […] 15 JUL 2016 | HMP | Needham’s Skimmer (mature male) […]

  5. Needham’s Skimmer (immature males) | walter sanford's photoblog Says:

    […] 20 JUN 2017 | OBNWR | Needham’s Skimmer (immature male) […]

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