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Halloween Pennant



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Celithemis eponina

Drury, 1773


Order Odonata
Suborder Anisoptera
Superfamily Libelluloidea
Family Libellulidae
Genus Celithemis
Species eponina (Drury, 1773) [Libellula]


Identification

This is the largest, most widely distributed, and perhaps most colorful small pennant species in the region. Its common name is descriptive because of its distinctive orange and brown or black wings. The face is yellowish or olivaceous, becoming darker with age and red in males. The thorax is yellowish-green with a dark middorsal stri pe and narrow lateral stripes on the sutures. The midlateral stripe is usually not continuous after the spiracle. This is the only species with completely yellowish-orange wings marked with broad dark brown or black stripes and a red pterostigma. The abdomen is slender with pale yellow dorsal spots on segments 3-7 that become red with age.

Size

Total length: 30-42 mm; abdomen: 20-30 mm; hindwing: 27-35 mm.

Similar Species

This is a very recognizable species. Banded Pennant (C. fasciata ) has clear wings with black bands and Calico Pennant (C. elisa ) is smaller with patterning on otherwise clear wings.

Habitat

Lakes, ponds, borrow pits and marshes with emergent vegetation

Discussion

This species may be locally abundant. It forages from atop tall grasses, weeds and stems in open fields some distance from the water. It perches uniquely, with the fore- and hindwings in different planes. The forewings are held somewhat vertically and the hindwings horizontally. Most activity takes place in the early to midmorning hours. Females lay eggs similarly to other species, accompanied by males. Its fluttering flight has been compared to that of a butterfly.

Distribution

Widespread throughout eastern U.S. and Canada