Posts Tagged ‘odonatacoccygia’

Slaty Skimmer dragonfly (immature male)

July 13, 2014

The following photo shows a Slaty Skimmer dragonfly (Libellula incesta) spotted during a photowalk at Huntley Meadows Park on 07 July 2014. This individual is an immature male, as indicated by its coloration, hamules, and terminal appendages.

Slaty Skimmer dragonfly (immature male)

Slaty Skimmer dragonflies display sexual dimorphism, that is, coloration is different for mature males and females. Immature males and immature/adult females are nearly identical in appearance except for their terminal appendages. Another useful field marker: females have dark wing tips; males, not so much.

Immature male Great Blue Skimmer dragonflies (Libellula vibrans) and immature male Slaty Skimmers are somewhat similar in appearance. In addition to other key field markers such as differences in the coloration of their faces and legs, some odonate experts say you can see a “wolf head” on the side of the thorax of Slaty Skimmers.

The preceding photograph shows the wolf head more clearly than any photo I’ve taken of Slaty Skimmer dragonflies. Look at the full-size version of the photo.

Related Resources:

Editor’s Note: “Odonatacoccygia” is defined as seeing shapes in the patterns on odonates, and I should know, since I coined the term!  Do you see the wolf head on the side of the thorax? I do!

Copyright © 2014 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

Arrowhead Spiketail dragonfly (male)

July 9, 2014

On 07 July 2014, I discovered an Arrowhead Spiketail dragonfly (Cordulegaster obliqua) while exploring a small stream at a remote location in Huntley Meadows Park. Arrowhead Spiketails are an uncommon species of dragonfly formerly unknown to occur at Huntley Meadows Park. According to Kevin Munroe, Park Manager at Huntley Meadows and author of Dragonflies of Northern Virginia, my discovery sets a new flight record for the latest date Arrowhead Spiketails have been observed in Northern Virginia.

I noticed the Arrowhead Spiketail as it patrolled back-and-forth down the middle of the stream, about six inches (6”) above the water. After hours of searching, I discovered a location near one end of the dragonfly’s long flight path where it stopped to perch several times.

This individual is a male, as indicated by its terminal appendages and the “indentations” on its hind wings (near the body). [See “Related Resources,” below, for images that show female terminal appendages (notice the ovipositor visible between her cerci) and hind wing shape (rounded rather than indented).]

Arrowhead Spiketail dragonfly (male)

Arrowhead Spiketail dragonfly (male)

Arrowhead Spiketail dragonfly (male)

Arrowhead Spiketail dragonfly (male)

The blue orb located near the upper-right side of the following photo is probably an artifact of my camera flash rather than a ghostly apparition.

Arrowhead Spiketail dragonfly (male)

Arrowhead Spiketail dragonfly (male)

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

  • Genus Cordulegaster | Cordulegester obliqua | Arrowhead Spiketail | male | top view
  • Genus Cordulegaster | Cordulegester obliqua | Arrowhead Spiketail | female | top view
  • Genus Cordulegaster | Cordulegester obliqua | Arrowhead Spiketail | female | side view

Editor’s Note:Odonatacoccygia” is defined as seeing shapes in the patterns on odonates, and I should know, since I coined the term! Look at the yellow markings on top of the thorax, shown best in the full-size version of Photo 1. Do you see a bucktooth Energizer Bunny® (wearing sunglasses)? I do!

Copyright © 2014 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

Blue Dasher dragonfly (male) redux 2

November 1, 2012

Odonatacoccygia” is defined as seeing shapes in the patterns on odonates, and I should know, since I coined the term!  Look at the front of this male Blue Dasher dragonfly’s thorax (see the area highlighed by a red circle). Do you see an owl wearing sunglasses? I do!

P1140654-rw2-ver5_aperture_annotated

This Blue Dasher dragonfly (Pachydiplax longipennis) was spotted on 14 August 2012 at Huntley Meadows Park, and originally posted on 22 August 2012.

Copyright © 2012 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved. www.wsanford.com


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