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Prince Baskettail

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Epitheca princeps

Hagen, 1861

Order Odonata
Suborder Anisoptera
Superfamily Libelluloidea
Family Corduliidae
Genus Epitheca
Species princeps Hagen, 1861 [Epitheca]
Syn Cordulia regina Hagen in


This is the most widespread and probably easiest emerald to recognize in the region. It is the only baskettail with brown wingtips. Its eyes are brown when young and brilliant green in older males. The thorax and abdomen are brown and the latter has an obscured row of pale spots on each side. The wings are variably marked with brown basally, at the nodus and apically.


Total length: 58-68 mm; abdomen: 42-49 mm; hindwing: 38-43 mm.

Similar Species

Though not confused with other emeralds, Twelve-spotted Skimmer (Libellula pulchella ) and female Common Whitetails (Plathemis lydia ) have similar wing patterns. Prince Baskettail has a much narrower abdomen than either of these species though and it lacks prominent yellow lateral thoracic stripes.


Quiet reaches of streams, rivers, ponds and lakes.


This species may be mistaken for a patrolling darner because of its size and similar behavior. The more northern individuals are smaller and tend to have the brown markings on the wings more reduced. It flies high, often over the tree line, and may be seen mixed in with other species in feeding swarms. The males generally patrol long areas of shoreline and fly at heights of one to two meters above the water. They will often perch vertically in trees with the abdomen conspicuously turned upward. Females lay eggs in a similar manner to other members of this genus by depositing the egg mass on leaves or debris at the water surface. Adults may congregate in large numbers on the leeward side of bushes on windy days.


Eastern U.S. and Canada.