Hot Dragon

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:

By Suzy Shipman

I like to take photos and write words ...


  1. I’ve seen dragonflies do this but never knew why. The other day I checked the weather in Worthing, Sussex… it was actually 10 degrees warmer than where I live in LA… hot is hot. But then we zoomed up to 102°F…39°C… which never happens in our part of town… maybe I should learn to “obelisk!” Great photos.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Cool shots, Suzy. I am not surprised that the males and females tolerate the heat differently. My observations in my office suggest that is the case not just for dragonflies–occasionally there are “thermostat wars” as disputes arise about whether or not it is too cold or too hot. Obelisking is not an option, so portable heaters and fans are the alternative methods for temperature regulation.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.