124. Slender Skimmer – Orthetrum sabina – European Dragonfly photo
The Slender Skimmer ( Orthetrum sabina ) is another important species in my dragonfly life. It concerns a rather sad story of being with a friend Dr Nigel Stones in Morocco in April 2011 but, feeling unwell with a throat infection, I opted out of a further walk in the heat to another wadi on the edge of the Sahara – only to subsequently find that he had photographed the first ever record of the species for the country ! Although this potential arrival in Morocco had been forecast by Dijkstra in his Field Guide it was none-the-less confirmation of a significant extension in the known range for the species. I subsequently caught up with this dragonfly in Turkey and can confirm that it is one of the more nervous species, being difficult to photograph as it rarely seems to land for more than a few seconds.
KEY I/D FEATURES
This is a very distinctive species with its ‘black and off-white’ colouring and its very slender abdomen with white appendages. The abdomen also has Segments 1 and 2 much expanded to look like a small bulb when viewed from the side. This can best be seen in the fourth photo below of a male with a downcurved body. The club shape on S7-10 is also more noticeable from the side view as shown in the third photograph. Again there is a forward diagonal stripe on the side of the thorax which is more apparent on darker specimens. The eyes are dark green.
Females are similar but tend to have somewhat less slender bodies.