abdomen - The last, and the usually largest, of the three portions of an insects
body. It begins after the thorax. It usually is made up of anywhere
from 8-11 segments.
abdominal segments - The ten separate parts
making up the abdomen. Joints between the segments allow the dragonfly to
bend easily, this is important when dragonflies mate and lay their eggs. Usually
numbered from S1 through S10 from the thorax to the tip. These segments usually
show varied patterns of coloration crucial in the identification of certain species.
andromorph - female form which is similar to the male
of the species
Anisoptera - suborder of Odonata, specifically dragonflies
antennae - Located at the top of the dragonfly's head,
these bristle like projections help the dragonfly sense its surroundings.
It is thought to aid in the capturing of prey at night and may also serve as airspeed
anterior - towards the front of the odonate
biological diversity - the variety of life in all its forms,
levels and combinations including ecosystem diversity, species diversity and genetic
A group of ecosystems that are related by having
a similar type of vegetation governed by similar climatic conditions. Examples
include prairies, deciduous forests, arctic tundra, deserts, and tropical rain forests.
bog - a wetland that has poorly drained acidic peat-soil dominated by sedges
and sphagnum moss
brackish - somewhat salty water, as in an estuary
broad-spectrum pesticides - chemical
pesticides that kill a wide range of pests. These pesticides also kill a wide
range of non-pest and beneficial species.
carnivore - species
that feeds on other organisms
caudal - toward the end or posterior end of an organism
caudal lamellae - terminal gill filaments of the damselfly larvae (Zygoptera)
which are usually flat and broad
cerci - appendages
on terminal abdominal segment
cercus - one cerci -
an appendage on the terminal abdominal segment
channelization - the
straightening and deepening of stream or river channels to speed water flow and
conservation - the management of a resource in such a way as to assure that
it will continue to provide maximum benefit to humans over the log run
costal plain - level land with generally fine and fertile soils downstream
of a piedmont and fall line, where tidal influence is felt in the rivers
costa - also called the costal vein,
the major longitudinal vein forming the leading edge of the wing
cross vein - a short vein
joining any two neighboring longitudinal veins
damselfly - order of Odonata, suborder Zygoptera, characterized
by narrow wings, forewing
and hind-wing similar in shape held folded along the body at rest; eyes widely separated;
and slim bodied
detritus - accumulated organic debris from dead organisms, a source of nutrients
in a food chain
dimorphic - occurring in two distinct forms
dissolved oxygen - Oxygen gas molecules dissolved in water. Fish and other
aquatic organisms depend on dissolved oxygen for respiration therefore, the concentration
of dissolved oxygen is a measure of water quality
distal - furthest away from the body
diversity - an ecological measure of the variety of organisms present in
dorsal - top of the odonate
dragonfly - order of Odonata, suborder Anisoptera;
characterized by large broad wings, held
away from body when perched and flying; eyes touching in most species; large bodied
ecosystem - all the organisms in a particular region and the environment
in which they live. The elements of an ecosystem interact with each other in
some way, and so depend on each other either directly or indirectly.
emerge - eclosion of the winged adult from the last larval stage
endemic species - a species that is restricted in its distribution to a particular
locality or region
endophytic oviposition - laying eggs
into plant tissue
environment - the place in which an organism lives, and the circumstances under
which it lives
epiphytes - plants that live on the surface of other plants, especially the
trunk and branches
estuary - a bay or river system open to the ocean at one end and receiving
fresh water at the other. In an estuary, fresh and salt water mix producing
eutrophic - highly fertile and nutrient enriched
exophytic oviposition - laying eggs
onto water or land
extinction - the death of all individuals of a particular species
exuviae - the empty shells left behind after the
adult emerges from the last larval stage. (technically, the shell left behind from
any molt stage)
eyes - The individual facets of the compound eye are called
the ommatidia. The ommatidia are hexagonal in shape, so that all fit together
in a honeycomb pattern to create the complete compound eye. Most dragonflies
have larger ommatidia on the upper surface of the eye, and small ones on the lower
surface of the eye. The larger lenses allow the dragonfly to see objects that
are far away, and the smaller ones allow it to see objects that are near.
family - Each order of insects is divided into smaller
groups called families. The species within
a family are more similar and more closely related to each other than species in
family in the same order.
femur - The largest and uppermost section of the leg.
It is the heaviest and is similar to the human thigh. It is hairy or spiny
for better gripping.
flight season -
inclusive dates when an odonate is most apt to be seen
forewing - the wing closest to the head
arising from the second thoracic segment
frons - The most visible part of the dragonfly's face.
Its coloration is relevant in dragonfly identification.
genus - members of a family related in structures and heredity
that can be further
divided into species
gills - a respiratory
structure through which oxygen is obtained
globular - rounded in shape
hamules - Hook like projections that are found under abdominal
S2 on the male dragonfly. Its function is to hold the females genitalia in
place during mating.
head capsule - fused head sclerites
that form a case
herbaceous - a plant with soft tissue that dies back to the ground every year
herbicide - a chemical used to kill or inhibit the growth of undesired plants
hip or coxs - This part connects the leg to the body.
humeral vein -
a small cross-vein running from the costa to the sub-costa in the humeral region
of the wing
hyaline - means clear or transparent and is used to describe
the wings of a dragonfly
hybrid - a plant or animal resulting from a cross between two closely related
species that do not normally cross
inferior anal appendages - "EPIPROCT"
refers to the lower terminal appendage.
instar - a molting or shedding of the larvae exoskeleton
labial mask - on odonata
the part of the labium that covers part of the head
labium - Lower lip that can be extended and retracted
to capture and eat prey. The labium is folded under the head and thorax when
it is not being used. The labium can be extended to catch prey and retracted
to direct the prey into the dragonfly's mouth where it is torn apart by slicing
mandibles. This action is done with such great speed that one rarely gets
the opportunity to witness it.
labrum - This is the "upper lip" of the insects mouth-parts.
It also aids in the tearing up of food.
lamellae - leaf-like
structure at the terminal end of a damselflies abdomen
larva - immature stage of Odonata, larva, nymph, naiad
are often used interchangeably
to describe the intermediate stage of the dragonflies life (between eggs and adult)
lateral - the side of the odonate
macrohabitat - a place where a lot of organisms live
mandibles - The mandibles consist of the upper and the
lower lips surrounding the mouth. The upper jaws being the (mandibulae) and
the lower jaws being the (maxillae). Mandibles are toothed and move from side
to side tearing up prey. The Greek word "Odonata" refers to the serrated teeth
located on the insect's mandibles.
maxillae - the mouthparts
that are located between the mandible and the lower labium
mentum - ventral
plate on the ventral side of the head
mesonotum - dorsal
surface of the second thoracic segment
metastemum - the
ventral parts of the final thoracic segment
the last segment of the "foot"
- This is the middle segment of the thorax. It has one pair of wings and one
pair of legs.
metathorax - This is the last segment of the thorax.
It has one pair of wings and one pair of legs.
microhabitat - a place
where little organisms live
naiad - commonly used term meaning the same as nymph
the indentation in the costa vein
notum - dorsal
surface of thoracic body segment
nymph - commonly used name for larva; newborn dragonfly
obelisk position - a
posture with the abdomen raised nearly vertical to minimize exposure to the sun
occiput - The back of the head between the vertex
and the neck. Head damage from mating usually occurs in this area. The
males EPIPROCT can accidentally punch holes in the females occiput during mating.
This is not an everyday occurrence, but on occasion will happen. The dragonhunter
is noted for this.
the order in the animal kingdom of dragonflies and damselflies
odonate - a common word for dragonfly/damselfly
oligotrophic - possibly nutrient poor, less fertile
oviposit - to lay eggs
The external female genitalia used for
egg laying found at the tip of the abdomen. It is located under abdominal
S8-S10. It is difficult to view this organ without having captured the insect
and using magnification. The shape of the ovipositor has relevance on how
the eggs are to be laid.
palpal lobes - paired lobes on the distal end of the premenum
in dragonflies and damselflies
- the innermost pair of anal appendages
parasite - living off of
another organism while it is still alive
pesticide - a chemical used to kill pests. Pesticides are further categorized
according to the pest they are designed to kill - for example, herbicides kill plants,
insecticides kill insects, fungicides kill fungi and so on
pools - distinct habitats
within the stream where the velocity of the water is reduced and the depth of
the water is greater than that of most of the stream area
posterior - toward the back or end of the odonate
posternal horn - a
horn-like appendage found on the ventral side, located just behind the head
capsule and just above where the first pair of legs connect to the thorax
predator - organisms that
feed on animal matter
- a shield-like plate covering the top of the thorax
pro-thorax - This first segment is located
at the front of the dragonfly's body; this small section connects the head to the
body. On the pro-thorax is the dragonfly's first pair of legs. The pro-thorax
also allows the dragonfly to keep equilibrium during flight.
proximal - nearest the body or base of a given part
pruinosity - a bluish or whitish powder which forms
on the surface of mature dragonflies
pterostigm - a shaded area on the upper and
outer edge of the wing of damselflies
respiratory tube - a large
tube used to obtain air from the surface while an insect is submerged
riffles - Shallow, turbulent,
swiftly flowing stretches of water that flow over
partially or totally submerged rocks. This is where you can here the sound of the
spiracle - an external
opening along the body of insects used for air intake
spiracle plates - plates
that are found on spiracles
stigma - a solid rectangular spot
near the tip of the wing
superior anal appendages - "CERCI"
refers to the upper and outer terminal appendage. In conjunction with the
shape of the interior appendage, species identification is made possible.
suture - a line in the body
tandem - a position where the male and female are
attached; usually seen during mating
tarsus - This includes the three segments and a claw on
the end of the leg. Together, these form the foot.
teneral - a stage of development following emergence;
a newly emerged adult
terminal - referring to the posterior end of the body or the distal end of
terminal appendages - Commonly referred
to as "CLASPERS" in males. The appendages lay at the tip
of the abdomen. The males use the anal appendages to clasp the female behind
the head or on the pro-thorax , keeping her in position while mating. Each
species will have its own unique set of anal appendages or "CLASPERS".
When identification is difficult, knowing the shape of these appendages may be the
only field mark you can go by for correct identification.
tibia - This is the second section of the leg. It
is equivalent of the human shin. It is hairy or spiny to grip and capture
trachael branches - internal stem-like structures in insects.
tuberacles - small mound-like projections on the body
ventral - the underside of the organism
ventrolateral - running laterally along the ventral side of an insect.
watershed - may also be called a drainage basin, is the area in which
all water, sediments, and dissolved materials flow or drain from the land into a
common river, lake, or other body of water.
wetland - is a generic term for all the different kinds of wet habitats where
the land is wet for some period of time each year but not necessarily permanently
wet. Wetlands generally include swamps, marshes, bogs and similar areas.
wing pads - a developing wing
wing venation - refers to the pattern of veins in the wing
wing whirring -
vibrating the wings rapidly to
Zygoptera - suborder of odonata; specifically damselflies