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Needham's Skimmer



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Libellula needhami

Westfall, 1943


Order Odonata
Suborder Anisoptera
Superfamily Libelluloidea
Family Libellulidae
Genus Libellula
Species needhami Westfall, 1943 [Libellula]


Identification

This species is largely restricted to the coast line. Its face, thorax and abdomen are all yellowish-brown in young individuals and females, with all but the sides of the thorax becoming vivid red. The thorax lacks stripes laterally. The legs are brown with no black except the spines. The wings are amber or orange in the front half with a yellow orange pterostigma and have black veins in the posterior 2/3 of the wing. The costa is bicolored, being dark basally to the nodus and lighter beyond to the pterostigma. There is a black middorsal stripe on the abdomen.

Size

Total length: 45-57 mm; abdomen: 32-39 mm; hindwing: 35-45 mm.

Similar Species

See Golden-winged Skimmer (L. auripennis ) for differences with that species. Young Yellow-striped Skimmers (L. flavida ) have pale lateral thoracic stripes.

Habitat

Marshy ponds and lakes including brackish waters.

Discussion

This species, although reported as far inland as just north of the Arkansas-Louisiana border is much more common along the coastal areas where it replaces Golden-winged Skimmer. It may be one of the most abundant species, along with Four-spotted Pennant (Brachymesia gravida ) and Seaside Dragonlet (Erythrodiplax berenice), at brackish waters where it typically perches low on vegetation surrounding or overhanging the water. Females are often only encountered some distance from the water when mating. Pairs mate while perched and females lay eggs, guarded or unaccompanied by males, vigorously tapping their abdomens to the water surface.

Distribution

Atlantic sea-board and gulf coastal plain region.