More Eastern Ringtail dragonflies

One female and two male Eastern Ringtail dragonflies (Erpetogomphus designatus) were spotted during a follow-up photowalk along the Potomac River at Riverbend Park.

Female and male Eastern Ringtail are somewhat similar in appearance. Terminal appendages, the shape of their hind wings, and the relative size of their club are good field markers to differentiate specimens by gender.

Female

The first individual is a female, as indicated by her terminal appendages. Female dragonflies have a pair of cerci (superior appendages) that have little or no function.

An Eastern Ringtail dragonfly (Erpetogomphus designatus) spotted along the Potomac River at Riverbend Park, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. This individual is a female.

08 AUG 2016 | Riverbend Park | Eastern Ringtail (female)

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

The preceding dorsal view of the dragonfly shows its hind wings are rounded near the body, a good field marker for female clubtail dragonflies. In contrast, the hind wings of male clubtails are “indented.” Also notice the female “club” is slightly smaller than the male club, as shown in the following photos.

Male 1

The male’s abdomen is slightly thinner (shown below); the female’s abdomen is slightly thicker (shown above).

An Eastern Ringtail dragonfly (Erpetogomphus designatus) spotted along the Potomac River at Riverbend Park, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. This individual is a male.

08 AUG 2016 | Riverbend Park | Eastern Ringtail (male)

Male 2

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”).

An Eastern Ringtail dragonfly (Erpetogomphus designatus) spotted along the Potomac River at Riverbend Park, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. This individual is a male, perching in the obelisk position.

08 AUG 2016 | Riverbend Park | Eastern Ringtail (male)

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

Notice the male’s hind wings are “indented” near the body, as shown in the last two photos.

An Eastern Ringtail dragonfly (Erpetogomphus designatus) spotted along the Potomac River at Riverbend Park, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. This individual is a male.

08 AUG 2016 | Riverbend Park | Eastern Ringtail (male)

An Eastern Ringtail dragonfly (Erpetogomphus designatus) spotted along the Potomac River at Riverbend Park, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. This individual is a male.

08 AUG 2016 | Riverbend Park | Eastern Ringtail (male)

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

  • Genus Erpetogomphus | Erpetogomphus designatus | Eastern Ringtail | female | top view
  • Genus Erpetogomphus | Erpetogomphus designatus | Eastern Ringtail | female | side view
  • Genus Erpetogomphus | Erpetogomphus designatus | Eastern Ringtail | male | top view
  • Genus Erpetogomphus | Erpetogomphus designatus | Eastern Ringtail | male | side view

Copyright © 2016 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

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7 Responses to “More Eastern Ringtail dragonflies”

  1. Everyone’s gotta eat! | walter sanford's photoblog Says:

    […] first individual is a male, as indicated by his terminal appendages; he is feeding upon an unknown black winged […]

  2. Life-list additions in 2016 | walter sanford's photoblog Says:

    […] 04 AUG 2016 | Riverbend Park | Eastern Ringtail (male) […]

  3. Eastern Ringtail dragonflies (males) | walter sanford's photoblog Says:

    […] River at Riverbend Park, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. Both individuals featured in this post are male, as indicated by their terminal appendages and “indented” hind […]

  4. Eastern Ringtail dragonflies (more males) | walter sanford's photoblog Says:

    […] River at Riverbend Park, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. All of the individuals in this gallery are male, as indicated by their terminal appendages and “indented” hind […]

  5. “Big Boy” | walter sanford's photoblog Says:

    […] along the Potomac River at Riverbend Park, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. These individuals are male, as indicated by their terminal appendages and “indented” hind […]

  6. Eastern Ringtail dragonfly (female) | walter sanford's photoblog Says:

    […] along the Potomac River at Riverbend Park, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. This individual is a female, as indicated by her terminal appendages and rounded hind […]

  7. Adding an extension tube | walter sanford's photoblog Says:

    […] along the Potomac River at Riverbend Park, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. This individual is a female, as indicated by her terminal appendages and rounded hind […]

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