Posts Tagged ‘Archilestes grandis’

Great Spreadwing (practice oviposition)

October 15, 2017

This gallery — named “practice oviposition” (egg-laying) — features a six-photo time series of a female Great Spreadwing damselfly (Archilestes grandis).

Female Great Spreadwing damselflies, like all female odonates, have two cerci (sing. cercus), superior appendages that have little or no function. Also notice two styli (sing. stylus), structures that serve as sensors (like “curb feelers“) in egg positioning during oviposition.

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

The female uses her styli to guide the ovipositor into position, as shown in the next two photos.

In this case, I saw no evidence that the ovipositor actually penetrated the tree twig. I think this was a practice run in preparation for the real thing, as the title of this blog post says.

Copyright © 2017 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

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Great Spreadwing damselfly (female)

October 13, 2017

A Great Spreadwing damselfly (Archilestes grandis) was spotted near a vernal pool at a remote location in Huntley Meadows Park, Fairfax County, Virginia USA.

This individual is a female, as indicated by her terminal appendages and external reproductive anatomy, including two styli and an ovipositor.

Sometimes I struggle to choose between two similar images, so I decided to post both photos.

The following photo captured the “feel” of the morning light especially well.

The next two photos are among my favorites in this set.

This female was a more cooperative model after she moved to a perch on a man-made brush pile that provides habitat and shelter for many types of animals.

Female Great Spreadwing damselflies, like all female odonates, have two cerci (sing. cercus), superior appendages that have little or no function. Also notice two styli (sing. stylus), structures that serve as sensors (like “curb feelers“) in egg positioning during oviposition.

My next blog post will feature a six-photo time series that I named “practice oviposition” (egg-laying).

Copyright © 2017 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

Great Spreadwing damselfly (male, grooming)

December 20, 2016

Great Spreadwing damselfly (Archilestes grandis) was spotted in the forest near a vernal pool at Huntley Meadows Park. This individual is the same male featured in my last blog post.

Before grooming

Look closely at the full-size version of the following photo. Notice the schmutz on the male damselfly’s abdomen, located near the right cercus of his terminal appendages.

11:09:41 a.m. EST

Grooming

A while later the male damselfly contorted himself into a position that looked like he was doing gymnastics. As it turns out, he was rubbing the tip of his abdomen against his thorax and legs in order to remove the schmutz.

11:31:09 a.m. EST

11:31:13 a.m. EST

11:31:18 a.m. EST

After grooming

Look closely at the full-size version of the following photo. Notice the schmutz on the male damselfly’s abdomen is gone. Soon afterward, the male flew in the direction of the vernal pool, presumably to look for female mates.

11:32:54 a.m. EST

Related Resource: Great Spreadwing damselflies (males, gymnasts) is a blog post by Walter Sanford that includes an embedded video showing similar grooming behaviors. The video features two segments: segment one shows the male damselfly grooming his legs; segment two shows the male grooming his wings by rubbing his abdomen against them.

Editor’s Note: If you check the EXIF for all five photos, then you will see the time stamp is one hour later than the times shown above. 06 November was the first time I used my camera since the end of Daylight Saving Time (at 2:00 a.m. the same day) — I forgot to reset the time in-camera!

Copyright © 2016 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

Great Spreadwing damselfly (male, eating)

December 18, 2016

Great Spreadwing damselfly (Archilestes grandis) was spotted in the forest near a vernal pool at Huntley Meadows Park. This individual is a male, as indicated by his deep blue eyes, familiar yellow racing stripe on the side of its thorax, bluish-white coloration on abdominal segments 9-10 (S9-10), and distinctive terminal appendages (claspers).

While I was sitting on my Coleman camp stool watching the male damselfly, suddenly he flew up and around head and landed near the same spot where he had been perching. I know from experience this type of behavior suggests the damselfly probably grabbed something to eat.

The following brief time-series of photos shows the damselfly eating an unknown species of winged insect.

11:19:52 a.m. EST

11:19:58 a.m. EST

11:20:14 a.m. EST

Editor’s Note: If you check the EXIF for all three photos, then you will see the time stamp is one hour later than the times shown above. 06 November was the first time I used my camera since the end of Daylight Saving Time (at 2:00 a.m. the same day) — I forgot to reset the time in-camera!

Copyright © 2016 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

Great Spreadwing (female terminal appendages)

November 9, 2016

Fall 2016 hadn’t been good for finding Great Spreadwing damselflies (Archilestes grandis) at Huntley Meadows Park. A formerly fishless vernal pool in a remote location at the park was less than productive, yielding only two males as a result of intense searches during September and October. Given this context, imagine my surprise and delight when several Great Spreadwings were spotted on a mild day in early November, including my first sighting of a single female!

The following photo shows a male Great Spreadwing damselfly spotted on the same day and near the same location as the female. Notice its deep blue eyes, familiar yellow racing stripe on the side of its thorax, bluish-white coloration on abdominal segments 9-10 (S9-10), and distinctive terminal appendages (claspers).

Although female Great Spreadwings feature the same yellow thoracic stripe as males, several other field markers are different. Female eyes are paler blue and two-toned. Females have a noticeably thicker abdomen, minus the male coloration on S9-10. And of course, female terminal appendages are different from male appendages.

A Great Spreadwing damselfly (Archilestes grandis) spotted at Huntley Meadows Park, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. This individual is a female.

06 NOV 2016 | Huntley Meadows Park | Great Spreadwing (female)

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

Female Great Spreadwing damselflies, like all female odonates, have two cerci (sing. cercus), superior appendages that have little or no function. Also notice two styli (sing. stylus), structures that serve as sensors (like “curb feelers“) in egg positioning during oviposition.

A Great Spreadwing damselfly (Archilestes grandis) spotted at Huntley Meadows Park, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. This individual is a female.

06 NOV 2016 | Huntley Meadows Park | Great Spreadwing (female)

All three photos of the female are full-frame, that is, uncropped; the photo of the male was cropped slightly, only because I’m almost as obsessed with the way the edges of a photo look as the subject of the photo! Although I’m not opposed to cropping photos for better composition, I prefer to get it right in-camera.

A Great Spreadwing damselfly (Archilestes grandis) spotted at Huntley Meadows Park, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. This individual is a female.

06 NOV 2016 | Huntley Meadows Park | Great Spreadwing (female)

Related Resources:

Editor’s Note: If you check the EXIF for all four photos, then you will see the time stamp is one hour later than the times shown above. 06 November was the first time I used my camera since the end of Daylight Saving Time (at 2:00 a.m. the same day) — I forgot to reset the time in-camera!

Copyright © 2016 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

They’re back!

September 28, 2016

Great Spreadwing damselflies (Archilestes grandis), that is, and it’s good to see them! 22 September is believed to be a new early date for Great Spreadwing at Huntley Meadows Park; the previous early date was 06 October.

Two males were spotted at a vernal pool in a remote location in the park. More photos of both males will be featured in a follow-up post.

Male 1

Both individuals are males, as indicated by their coloration and terminal appendages.

Male 2

Copyright © 2016 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

Great Spreadwing damselfly (male)

February 15, 2016

Several Great Spreadwing damselflies (Archilestes grandis) were spotted on 15 October 2015 near a vernal pool in the forest at Huntley Meadows Park. The following individual is a male, as indicated by its coloration, hamules, and terminal appendages.

A Great Spreadwing damselfly (Archilestes grandis) spotted at Huntley Meadows Park, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. This individual is a male.

With handsome azurite-colored eyes accented by green and yellow racing stripes on their thorax, male Great Spreadwings are one of my favorite damselflies!

Copyright © 2016 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

More photos of an old friend

December 19, 2015

A distinctive Great Spreadwing damselfly (Archilestes grandis) was spotted at a remote location in Huntley Meadows Park (HMP). This individual is a male, as indicated by his coloration and terminal appendages. I nicknamed this male Great Spreadwing “Bendy Straw” because of his slightly malformed abdomen.

A Great Spreadwing damselfly (Archilestes grandis) spotted at Huntley Meadows Park, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. This individual is a male, nicknamed "Bendy Straw."

11 OCT 2015 | HMP | Great Spreadwing (male, nicknamed “Bendy Straw”)

Notice the bend in his abdomen at the boundary between segments seven and eight (S7 and S8). Remember that all dragonflies and damselflies have a 10-segmented abdomen, numbered from front to back.

A Great Spreadwing damselfly (Archilestes grandis) spotted at Huntley Meadows Park, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. This individual is a male, nicknamed "Bendy Straw."

11 OCT 2015 | HMP | Great Spreadwing (male, nicknamed “Bendy Straw”)

I met “Bendy Straw” on 11 October 2015; I never saw “Bendy” again, although Mike Powell photographed him on 16 October.

Copyright © 2015 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

Oh Magoo, you’ve done it again!

December 7, 2015

I was happy to see an old friend recently at a remote location in Huntley Meadows Park. This individual is a male Great Spreadwing damselfly (Archilestes grandis), as indicated by its coloration and terminal appendages. His nickname is “Mr. Magoo.”

I nicknamed this male Great Spreadwing “Mr. Magoo” because of the prominent dark spots in his eyes. I spotted “Mr. Magoo” for the first time on 08 October 2015, and again on the 15th and 21st; 04 November was the last day I saw Magoo. Editor’s Note: Photos of Mr. Magoo taken on 21 October will be featured in an upcoming post.

Related Resources:

Copyright © 2015 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

Still one of my favorite dragonflies!

December 5, 2015

Relax, Blue-faced Meadowhawk dragonflies (Sympetrum ambiguum) — rest assured you’re still one of my favorite species of dragonflies! Yeah, yeah, I know I’ve shown a lot of love for Great Spreadwing damselflies (Archilestes grandis) lately, but hey, don’t worry — they’re not even in the same suborder of odonates as you!

This individual is a male, as indicated by his coloration and terminal appendages. This guy was the third of eight males spotted on 06 September 2015, approximately one week after Mike Powell reported spotting the first Blue-faced Meadowhawk of 2015 at the same remote location in Huntley Meadows Park.

Related Resources:

Copyright © 2015 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.


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