Posts Tagged ‘mature female’

So close, yet so far!

April 10, 2019

Two Common Whitetail dragonflies (Plathemis lydia) were spotted perched on a wooden fence rail located near the terminus of the Hike-Bike Trail at Huntley Meadows Park (HMP), Fairfax County, Virginia USA.

The individual shown on the left is a mature female; the one on the right is a mature male.

15 SEP 2016 | HMP | Common Whitetail (mature female and male)

Sexing Common Whitetail dragonflies

For many of the common species of odonates found in Northern Virginia, I created a collection of annotated guides that illustrates how to differentiate gender by looking at terminal appendages. The difference in the pattern of wings spots for male and female Common Whitetails is sufficient to identify gender.

Life Cycle of Odonates

Odonates (dragonflies and damselflies) are aquatic insects that spend most of their life as larvae that live in water; this stage of their life cycle can last from a few months to a few years, depending upon the species. Finally, they emerge from the water and metamorphose into adults in order to reproduce; their offspring return to the water and the cycle begins again.

I wonder how these two mature adults were able to be so close yet resist the compelling biological urge to hook up!

Copyright © 2019 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

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Needham’s Skimmer dragonfly (female)

August 21, 2018

10 AUG 2018 | OBNWR | Needham’s Skimmer (mature female)

A Needham’s Skimmer dragonfly (Libellula needhami) was spotted during a brief photowalk at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge, Prince William County, Virginia USA. This individual is a mature female, as indicated by her terminal appendages, muted coloration, and slightly tattered wings.

Copyright © 2018 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

What’s yours is mine

August 11, 2018

Dragonflies seem to have no understanding of either personal space or property rights. Of course that’s only part of their appeal!

I stopped for a drink of water during a brief photowalk at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge, Prince William County, Virginia USA. A Needham’s Skimmer dragonfly (Libellula needhami) landed on the tip of my Sunpak 6700M aluminum monopod, lying on a Coleman camp stool.

10 AUG 2018 | OBNWR | Needham’s Skimmer (mature female)

This individual is a mature female, as indicated by her terminal appendages, muted coloration, and slightly tattered wings.

Copyright © 2018 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

Sable Clubtail dragonfly (female)

July 16, 2018

A Sable Clubtail dragonfly (Stenogomphurus rogersi) was spotted perched near a small stream located in Fairfax County, Virginia USA. This individual is a female, as indicated by her rounded hind wings and terminal appendages.

Female: Colored like male but a bit more yellow on abdomen, including fine dorsal lines on segments and prominent patches on edges of S8–9. Source Credit: Paulson, Dennis (2011-12-19). Dragonflies and Damselflies of the East (Princeton Field Guides) (Kindle Locations 6092-6093). Princeton University Press. Kindle Edition.

The first photo is the best shot from a set of “record shots,” that is, quick-and-dirty shots that provide a record of the spotting. As is. This is the first female Sable Clubtail that I have seen.

05 JUL 2018 | Fairfax County, VA | Sable Clubtail (female)

The next photo is my favorite in the set. Notice the tattered wings of this mature female — looks like she’s been working hard to perpetuate the small population of S. rogersi at this location!

05 JUL 2018 | Fairfax County, VA | Sable Clubtail (female)

The last photo provides a dorso-lateral view of the female.

05 JUL 2018 | Fairfax County, VA | Sable Clubtail (female)

New late date for Northern Virginia

The adult flight period for Sable Clubtail is from 08 June to 25 June (peaks in mid-June) according to records for Northern Virginia maintained by Kevin Munroe, former manager at Huntley Meadows Park. 05 July extends the old record by 10 days.

According to records for the Commonwealth of Virginia maintained by Dr. Steve Roble, a zoologist at the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, 21 May to 24 July is the adult flight period for S. rogersi.

Reproducing population

There is a small reproducing population of S. rogersi at this location, as evidenced by my spotting of a mature female and Dr. Edward Eder’s observation of a mating pair (in wheel) on 21 June 2018. Great catch, Ed!

Image used with permission from Dr. Edward Eder.

Copyright © 2018 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

Slaty lady

January 27, 2018

Mike Powell and I were searching for Fine-lined Emerald dragonflies at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge, Prince William County, Virginia USA. As we were walking along one of many gravel trails at the park, I spotted a dragonfly perching atop an unusually tall grass stem.

16 SEP 2017 | Occoquan Bay NWR | Slaty Skimmer (mature female)

This individual is a mature female Slaty Skimmer dragonfly (Libellula incesta). Although Mike and I were disappointed we hadn’t found a Fine-lined Emerald, I was happy to shoot a photograph worthy of my Odonart Portfolio.

Related Resources

Copyright © 2018 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

Like a bad guest at a party

October 31, 2017

Common Whitetail dragonflies (Plathemis lydia) are like bad guests at a party — they are among the first odonates to arrive in spring and among the last to leave in fall. Unlike bad guests, it’s good to see Common Whitetails after a long, cold winter and you have to admire the fact that they survived a long, hot summer.

22 OCT 2017 | HMP | Common Whitetail (mature female)

The preceding photograph shows a Common Whitetail dragonfly that was spotted near a vernal pool at a remote location in Huntley Meadows Park, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. This individual is a mature female, as indicated by her terminal appendages and pattern of wing spots.

Copyright © 2017 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

Great Blue Skimmer (mature females)

September 27, 2017

Two Great Blue Skimmer dragonflies (Libellula vibrans) were photographed during photowalks at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge (OBNWR), Prince William County, Virginia USA.

Both individuals are mature female, as indicated by their terminal appendages, muted coloration, and tattered wings. They were perching in shady hidey-holes relatively far from water.

Female Great Blue Skimmers have a pair of flanges beneath their eighth abdominal segment that are used to scoop and hold a few drops of water when laying eggs (oviposition), hence the family name “Skimmer.” Remember that all dragonflies and damselflies have a 10-segmented abdomen, numbered from front to back.

Copyright © 2017 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

Needham’s Skimmer (mature females)

September 25, 2017

In my experience, female Needham’s Skimmer dragonflies (Libellula needhami) seem to be more abundant than males toward the end of the adult flight period for that species.

Two Needham’s Skimmers were photographed during photowalks at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge, Prince William County, Virginia USA. Both individuals are mature female, as indicated by their terminal appendages and muted coloration.

Post Update: Sincere thanks to Drew Chaney for identifying the flowering plant shown in the preceding photo. According to Drew, “It’s either Clematis terniflora or virginiana. I can’t tell without leaves: Terniflora has entire leaves; virginiana has toothed ones.”

Copyright © 2017 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

Another mature female skimmer

August 30, 2017

As I mentioned in my last two blog posts (see Related Resources, below), most of the Skimmer dragonflies (Family Libellulidae) spotted during a recent photowalk at Huntley Meadows Park looked old and tattered.

24 AUG 2017 | HMP | Blue Dasher (mature female)

This individual is a mature female Blue Dasher dragonfly (Pachydiplax longipennis), as indicated by her terminal appendages, discolored abdomen, and tattered wings.

Related Resources

Copyright © 2017 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

Aging gracefully, revisited

August 28, 2017

Great Blue Skimmer dragonfly (Libellula vibrans) was spotted near a vernal pool in the forest at Huntley Meadows Park (HMP), Fairfax County, Virginia USA. This individual is a mature female, as indicated by her terminal appendages, discolored abdomen, and tattered wings.

Female Great Blue Skimmers have a pair of flanges beneath their eighth abdominal segment that are used to scoop and hold a few drops of water when laying eggs (oviposition), hence the family name “Skimmer.” Remember that all dragonflies and damselflies have a 10-segmented abdomen, numbered from front to back.

Related Resources

Copyright © 2017 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.


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