Halloween Pennant (terminal appendages)

Most experienced odonate hunters would never mistake an orangish-red mature male Halloween Pennant dragonfly (Celithemis eponina) for a yellow mature female of the same species, right? Maybe, maybe not. Color is quite variable, depending upon gender, age, and natural variation. Usually it’s better to use terminal appendages to identify gender rather than color.

Female

The following Halloween Pennant was spotted at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge, Prince William County, Virginia USA. This 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.

A Halloween Pennant dragonfly (Celithemis eponina) spotted at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge, Prince William County, Virginia USA. This individual is a female.

11 JUL 2016 | OBNWR | Halloween Pennant (female)

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

Immature male

The next Halloween Pennant dragonfly was spotted at Meadowood Recreation Area, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. This individual is an immature male, as indicated by his yellowish coloration and terminal appendages.

A Halloween Pennant dragonfly (Celithemis eponina) spotted at Meadowood Recreation Area, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. This individual is an immature male.

02 JUL 2016 | MRA | Halloween Pennant (immature 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 (displaying unusual coloration)

The last Halloween Pennant was spotted near the Pollinator Garden at Meadowood Recreation Area. This individual is a female, as indicated by her terminal appendages. Notice this specimen has orangish-red coloration similar to a mature male of the same species, including magenta pterostigmata.

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

  • Genus Celithemis | Celithemis eponina | Halloween Pennant | female | top view
  • Genus Celithemis | Celithemis eponina | Halloween Pennant | female | side view
  • Genus Celithemis | Celithemis eponina | Halloween Pennant | male | top view
  • Genus Celithemis | Celithemis eponina | Halloween Pennant | male | side view

Copyright © 2016 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

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