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Selys' Sundragon

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Helocordulia selysii

Hagen in Selys, 1878

Order Odonata
Suborder Anisoptera
Superfamily Libelluloidea
Family Corduliidae
Genus Helocordulia
Species selysii (Hagen in Selys, 1878) [Cordulia?]


This is an uncommon dark species with clear wings. It has a pale yellow face and a deep medial depression on the top of the frons. The thorax is brown, thickly clothed with silky hairs. The legs are black. There is a basal dark spot follwed by a series of smaller spots along the anterior margin of each wing. The abdomen is dark with pale spots laterally on the middle segments. Segment 3 has a nearly complete basal ring. The abdomen in males is slightly clubbed.


Total length: 38-41 mm; abdomen: 29-31 mm; hindwing: 26-28 mm.

Similar Species

Uhler's Sundragon (Helocordulia uhleri ) has a small amber spot next to the basal brown spot in each wing. Baskettails (Epitheca ) all have a yellow spot or stripe laterally on the thorax and shadowdragons (Neurocordulia ) lack an orange ring on segment 3.


Small, cool forest streams with sandy bottoms.


Adults of this species prefer open sunny glades in woods and are much less common than Uhler's Sundragon, but at the western edge of their distribution, Selys' Sundragon seems more widespread and commonly encountered. Little has been reported on the biology of this species, but it may be seen foraging along forest edges. Males commonly hover while patrolling. It has been recently reported from Salado Creek in Independence County, Arkansas.


Southeastern U.S.