Aurora Damsel (mating pair, in heart)

The mating pair of Aurora Damsel (Chromagrion conditum) shown in the following photograph is “in wheel,” in which the male uses “claspers” (terminal appendages) at the end of his abdomen to hold the female by her neck/thorax while they are joined at their abdomens. The male — blue, yellow, and black in color — is on top; the female — yellow and black in color — is on the bottom.

The copulatory, or wheel, position is unique to the Odonata, as is the distant separation of the male’s genital opening and copulatory organs. Source Credit: Paulson, Dennis (2011-12-19). Dragonflies and Damselflies of the East (Princeton Field Guides) (Kindle Locations 377-378). Princeton University Press. Kindle Edition.

The wheel position is sometimes referred to as “in heart” when damselflies mate.

04 JUN 2019 | PNC. William County, VA | Aurora Damsel (mating pair)

Female C. conditum is polymorphic, including two morphs: an andromorph with blue coloration similar to male; or a heteromorph with an entirely yellow thorax, as shown above.

It’s helpful to take photos of mating pairs of damselflies, especially “in wheel,” since males and females of the same species can look quite different.


C. conditum is a monotypic genus in the Family Coenagrionidae (Narrow-winged Damselflies).

Copyright © 2019 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

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2 Responses to “Aurora Damsel (mating pair, in heart)”

  1. Michael Boatwright Says:

    Great capture!!! 🙂

    • waltersanford Says:

      Thanks, Mike! The happy couple was a long way from any body of water and in habitat very different from their preferred habitat, as described in some field guides.

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