Posts Tagged ‘Tramea lacerata’

Black Saddlebags (terminal appendages)

September 15, 2017

Male and female Black Saddlebags dragonflies (Tramea lacerata) are somewhat similar in appearance. Terminal appendages can be used to identify gender.

Female

A female Black Saddlebags was spotted along Deephole Point Road at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge, Prince William County, Virginia USA.

10 SEP 2017 | Occoquan Bay NWR | Black Saddlebags (female)

Female dragonflies have a pair of cerci (superior appendages) that have little or no function.

10 SEP 2017 | Occoquan Bay NWR | Black Saddlebags (female)

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

Male

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”).

A male Black Saddlebags was spotted in the central wetland area at Huntley Meadows Park, Fairfax County, Virginia USA.

12 SEP 2014 | Huntley Meadows Park | Black Saddlebags (male)

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

Copyright © 2017 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

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Black Saddlebags dragonfly (male)

October 16, 2016

When I’m walking in/out of the wildlife watching parks that I like to visit some people ask, “Did you see/take photographs of anything good?” In my experience, their idea of “anything good” is either birds or large mammals. But if you take the time to look closely at the natural world then you will see smaller things that are easy to overlook, such as dragonflies and damselflies. And if you’re lucky, one of these magnificent animals will let you get close enough to see their breathtaking beauty!

A Black Saddlebags dragonfly (Tramea lacerata) spotted at Huntley Meadows Park, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. [*]

10 OCT 2016 | Huntley Meadows Park | Black Saddlebags (male)

Black Saddlebags dragonfly (Tramea lacerata) was spotted near a vernal pool in a remote location at Huntley Meadows Park. This individual is a male, as indicated by his terminal appendages.

Copyright © 2016 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

Black Saddlebags dragonfly (male)

August 23, 2015

A Black Saddlebags dragonfly (Tramea lacerata) was spotted in the hemi-marsh at Huntley Meadows Park. This individual is a male, as indicated by its coloration and terminal appendages.

A Black Saddlebags dragonfly (Tramea lacerata) spotted at Huntley Meadows Park, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. This individual is a male.

05 JUL 2015 | Huntley Meadows Park | Black Saddlebags (male)

It is uncommon to see the broad-winged skimmers from the genus Tramea perching. Dragonflies are classified as either “fliers” or “perchers,” based upon their feeding habits. Black Saddlebags are fliers.

A Black Saddlebags dragonfly (Tramea lacerata) spotted at Huntley Meadows Park, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. This individual is a male.

05 JUL 2015 | Huntley Meadows Park | Black Saddlebags (male)

Black Saddlebags is one of at least five major species of dragonflies known to be migratory in North America. Broad hindwings is an adaptation that enables Black Saddlebags to glide easily when flying. Dragonflies expend less energy when gliding, an aide to long-distance migration. According to the axiom in biology/morphology, form follows function.

Slaty Skimmer dragonflies (Libellula incesta), such as the mature male shown below, look somewhat similar to Black Saddlebags. Slaty Skimmers are “perchers.” Slaty Skimmers aren’t migratory; notice their hindwings are narrower than Black Saddlebags.

Related Resource: A sampler of male dragonfly claspers (Part 2). (See “Skimmer Family,” Black Saddlebags dragonfly.)

Copyright © 2015 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

A sampler of male dragonfly claspers (Part 2)

March 18, 2015

The theme of the “sampler series” is simple. Male dragonfly claspers come in a variety of shapes and sizes, but their function is identical for all species of dragonflies: male dragonflies use their claspers to grab and hold female dragonflies during mating.

There are seven families of dragonflies. Part 2 (of 2) features a sampler of select images showing male dragonfly claspers from the Emerald Family, Skimmer Family, and Spiketail Family. The author never has been fortunate to photograph either species of the Petaltail Family.

Emerald Family

The following image shows a Slender Baskettail dragonfly (Epitheca costalis) spotted in an open field along the trail to Hidden Pond, a small lake located at Meadowood Recreation Area.

Slender Baskettail dragonfly (male)

01 MAY 2013 | Meadowood Recreation Area | Slender Baskettail (male)

Skimmer Family

The next image shows a Bar-winged Skimmer dragonfly (Libellula axilena) spotted near a vernal pool in the forest at Huntley Meadows Park. Many members of the Skimmer Family have terminal appendages that look similar to the Bar-winged Skimmer, such as Painted Skimmer, Eastern Pondhawk, and Blue-faced Meadowhawk, to name a few species.

Bar-winged Skimmer dragonfly (young adult male)

31 MAY 2014 | Huntley Meadows Park | Bar-winged Skimmer (male)

The following image shows a battle-scarred Black Saddlebags dragonfly (Tramea lacerata) spotted alongside the boardwalk in the central wetland area hemi-marsh at Huntley Meadows Park. Black Saddlebags’ terminal appendages are unlike most members of the Skimmer Family.

Black Saddlebags dragonfly (male)

12 SEP 2014 | Huntley Meadows Park | Black Saddlebags (male)

Spiketail Family

The last image shows an Arrowhead Spiketail dragonfly (Cordulegaster obliqua) I discovered while exploring a small stream at a remote location in Huntley Meadows Park.

Arrowhead Spiketail dragonfly (male)

07 JUL 2014 | Huntley Meadows Park | Arrowhead Spiketail (male)

Related Resources:

Editor’s Notes: Part 1 (of 2) features a sampler of select images showing male dragonfly dragonfly claspers from the Clubtail Family, Cruiser Family, and Darner Family. The author has never been fortunate to photograph either species of the Petaltail Family.

Copyright © 2015 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

Battle-scarred Black Saddlebags

December 10, 2014

The following photos show a battle-scarred Black Saddlebags dragonfly (Tramea lacerata) spotted alongside the boardwalk in the central wetland area hemi-marsh at Huntley Meadows Park on 12 September 2014. This individual is a male, as indicated by its coloration and terminal appendages.

It is uncommon to see the broad-winged skimmers from the genus Tramea perching. Dragonflies are classified as either “fliers” or “perchers,” based upon their feeding habits. Black Saddlebags are fliers.

Black Saddlebags dragonfly (male)

Black Saddlebags dragonfly (male)

Black Saddlebags dragonfly (male)

Black Saddlebags dragonfly (male)

Black Saddlebags dragonfly (male)

Black Saddlebags dragonfly (male)

Black Saddlebags dragonfly (male)

Black Saddlebags dragonfly (male)

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

  • Genus Tramea | Tramea lacerata | Black Saddlebags | male | top view
  • Genus Tramea | Tramea lacerata | Black Saddlebags | male | side view

Editor’s Note: Several photos in this set look similar, although each photo is slightly different from the others. I thought about posting only the three best photos, in my opinion; decided to use the shotgun strategy instead. Which three photos would you choose?

Copyright © 2014 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

Black Saddlebags dragonfly (male)

November 28, 2014

The following photos show a Black Saddlebags dragonfly (Tramea lacerata) spotted alongside the boardwalk in the central wetland area hemi-marsh at Huntley Meadows Park on 10 September 2014. This individual is a male, as indicated by its coloration and terminal appendages.

Black Saddlebags dragonfly (male)

All 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”).

Cerci very long (more than twice as long as epiproct) and black. Source Credit: Paulson, Dennis (2011-12-19). Dragonflies and Damselflies of the East (Princeton Field Guides) (Kindle Locations 11241-11242). Princeton University Press. Kindle Edition.

Both the cerci and epiproct are shown clearly in the preceding photograph, and not as clearly in the following photo.

Black Saddlebags dragonfly (male)

It is uncommon to see the broad-winged skimmers from the genus Tramea perching. Dragonflies are classified as either “fliers” or “perchers,” based upon their feeding habits. Black Saddlebags are fliers.

Black Saddlebags dragonfly (male)

Black Saddlebags is one of at least five major species of dragonflies known to be migratory in North America. See interactive three-dimensional (3-D) virtual imagery of the five migratory dragonflies, including Black Saddlebags, provided by the Migratory Dragonfly Partnership.

Black Saddlebags dragonfly (male)

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

  • Genus Tramea | Tramea lacerata | Black Saddlebags | male | top view
  • Genus Tramea | Tramea lacerata | Black Saddlebags | male | side view

Copyright © 2014 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

Black Saddlebags dragonfly (male)

September 3, 2014

The following photos show a Black Saddlebags dragonfly (Tramea lacerata), spotted during a photowalk at Huntley Meadows Park on 29 August 2014. This individual is a male, as indicated by its coloration and terminal appendages.

It is uncommon to see the broad-winged skimmers from the genus Tramea perching. Dragonflies are classified as either “fliers” or “perchers,” based upon their feeding habits. Black Saddlebags are fliers.

Black Saddlebags dragonfly (male)

Black Saddlebags is one of at least five major species of dragonflies known to be migratory in North America. See interactive three-dimensional (3-D) virtual imagery of the five migratory dragonflies, including Black Saddlebags, provided by the Migratory Dragonfly Partnership.

Black Saddlebags dragonfly (male)

Near the end of the boardwalk in the central wetland area at Huntley Meadows Park, part of the forest is “drowned” as a result of the wetland restoration project. Some trees thrive in standing water; others not so much and they are dying slowly, causing their leaves to display the colors of autumn a month-or-so earlier than usual. I was able to compose several shots so the dragonfly was framed against a soft background of fall colors reflected from the surface of the hemi-marsh.

Black Saddlebags dragonfly (male)

In the next photo, the male dragonfly appears to be grooming while perching on a twig, using his front legs to wipe its eyes and face.

Black Saddlebags dragonfly (male)

Late afternoon sunlight reflected from the dragonfly’s wings caused spectacular highlights in some poses, as shown below.

Black Saddlebags dragonfly (male)

All 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”).

Cerci very long (more than twice as long as epiproct) and black. Source Credit: Paulson, Dennis (2011-12-19). Dragonflies and Damselflies of the East (Princeton Field Guides) (Kindle Locations 11241-11242). Princeton University Press. Kindle Edition.

Both the cerci and epiproct are shown clearly in the following photograph.

Black Saddlebags dragonfly (male)

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

  • Genus Tramea | Tramea lacerata | Black Saddlebags | male | top view
  • Genus Tramea | Tramea lacerata | Black Saddlebags | male | side view

See also Dragonfly grooming (2:26), a YouTube video featuring a male Blue Dasher dragonfly (Pachydiplax longipennis).

Editor’s Note: The preceding photos were taken using my new Fujifilm X-T1 digital camera and 55-200mm zoom lens (88-320mm, 35mm equivalent). I used the Fujifilm Shoe Mount Flash EF-42 in TTL mode with a shutter speed of 1/250s rather than the X-T1’s 180x default sync speed.

Copyright © 2014 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

Black Saddlebags dragonflies (males, in flight)

July 27, 2014

The following photographs show two Black Saddlebags dragonflies (Tramea lacerata) spotted in flight over the central wetland area at Huntley Meadows Park on 25 July 2014.

Both individuals are males, as indicated by the hamules that are visible below the second segment of their abdomen. Remember that all dragonflies and damselflies have a 10-segmented abdomen, numbered from front to back. Digital Dragonflies features a side view of a male Black Saddlebags in which the hamules are shown clearly.

Black Saddlebags dragonfly (male, in flight)

Black Saddlebags is one of at least five major species of dragonflies known to be migratory in North America. See interactive three-dimensional (3-D) virtual imagery of the five migratory dragonflies, including Black Saddlebags, provided by the Migratory Dragonfly Partnership.

Black Saddlebags dragonfly (male, in flight)

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

  • Genus Tramea | Tramea lacerata | Black Saddlebags | male | top view
  • Genus Tramea | Tramea lacerata | Black Saddlebags | male | side view
  • Genus Tramea | Tramea lacerata | Black Saddlebags | female | top view
  • Genus Tramea | Tramea lacerata | Black Saddlebags | female | side view

Copyright © 2014 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

Black Saddlebags dragonfly (young male)

September 13, 2013

The following photos show a Black Saddlebags dragonfly (Tramea lacerata). This specimen was spotted in a field located between the Pollinator Garden and Enchanted Pond, Meadowood Recreation Area, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. I think this individual is a young male. Expert opinions are invited and welcome!

Black Saddlebags dragonfly (female) Black Saddlebags dragonfly (female)

Editor’s Note: Ed Lam, author and illustrator of Damselflies of the Northeast, commented on this post via the Facebook Northeast Odonata group.

Your dragonfly is indeed a young male. The form of the cerci is different from the female’s. Also you can see the pale epiproct which the female lacks.

Thanks for your help, Ed!

Copyright © 2013 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

Black Saddlebags dragonfly (male) redux

October 4, 2012

A Black Saddlebags dragonfly (Tramea lacerata) spotted near the shore of Accotink Bay. Notice the hind wings of Black Saddlebags are broader than its fore wings, a characteristic of many migratory species of dragonflies.

734_lcc-cr2-_ver3_aperture734_lcc-cr2-_ver2_aperture

Habitat: Accotink Bay Wildlife Refuge, a 1,200 acre preserve located at Army Garrison Fort Belvoir, Fairfax County, Virginia USA.

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


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