We ventured out to Cors Caron today, even though it is still very hot (well, hot for the UK). We only managed a short walk before deciding it was just too hot for us. I spotted a female Black Darter dragonfly having the same kind of problem. She was ‘obelisking’ to keep cool.
The obelisk posture is a handstand-like position that some dragonflies and damselflies assume to prevent overheating on sunny days. The abdomen is raised until its tip points at the sun, minimizing the surface area exposed to solar radiation. When the sun is close to directly overhead, the vertical alignment of the insect’s body suggests an obelisk.
We weren’t out at midday, so she wasn’t doing the full-on vertical handstand, but she was definitely obelisking. Here she is keeping cool:
For a few moments she would adopt a more normal position and then go back to obelisking:
Her male counterpart didn’t seem to mind the heat so much and was perched in a more usual position nearby: