David Element

Wildlife Photography and Digital Video Images

___________________________________Dragonflies and Damselflies 21 - Black-tailed Skimmers

 

 

 

 

 

 

BLACK-TAILED SKIMMER Orthetrum cancellatum (f, teneral)

 

 

 

 

 

BLACK-TAILED SKIMMER Orthetrum cancellatum (m)

 

 

 

 

BLACK-TAILED SKIMMER Orthetrum cancellatum (m) BLACK-TAILED SKIMMERS Orthetrum cancellatum (f, m)

 

 

 

 

BLACK-TAILED SKIMMER Orthetrum cancellatum (teneral)

 

 

 

         The Black-tailed Skimmer Dragonfly Orthetrum cancellatum favours gravel-pits and other still or slow-moving water habitats. Males are territorial and they settle frequently on mud, gravel or fallen branches and react to passing rivals or females either by trying to repel or mate with them respectively. The appearance of this common and widespread dragonfly alters significantly with maturity and teneral (freshly emerged) O. cancellatum of both sexes are yellow with black markings (see the first and final photographs). Mature males will develop a powdery blue pruinescence (see second photograph) with the eponymous black tips to their abdomens but the pruinescence may eventually wear away in over-mature individuals and the pair shown in tandem are almost beyond recognition as they were so worn! There are several similar European species so identification errors of (particularly) worn individuals are entirely possible on the Continent but in the UK there should be sufficient differences visible to enable separation from the other species (Orthetrum and Libellula) with blue pruinescence in the males. These photographs were taken in the UK, France and Italy.

 

 

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David Element