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Marl Pennant



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Macrodiplax balteata

Hagen, 1861


Order Odonata
Suborder Anisoptera
Superfamily Libelluloidea
Family Libellulidae
Genus Macrodiplax
Species balteata (Hagen, 1861) [Tetragoneuria]


Identification

This widely distributed species is recognizable by a large black spot at the base of the hindwing and a much smaller, but similar, spot in the forewing. The face and thorax in young individuals and females are white and gray, respectively. The lateral sutures on the side of the thorax are irregularly outlined by black and connected below, to appear as "W." The wings are described as above with a narrow brown pterostigma. The legs are pale at their base and black throughout the rest of their length. The abdomen is pale yellow outlined laterally, middorsally and on the carinae by black. Segments 8-10 are entirely black. The mature male darkens extensively, with his face and entire body turning black.

Size

Total length: 35-42 mm; abdomen: 25-30 mm; hindwing: 31-35 mm.

Similar Species

Pin-tailed Pondhawk (Erythemis plebeja ) has a much narrower abdomen, a pale face in both sexes, and a larger spot in the hindwing. The similar Small Pennants (Celithemis ) all smaller with a lighter stripe through the dark basal patch in each hindwing. Spot-winged Glider (Pantala hymenaea ) is larger and golden brown. Saddlebag gliders (Tramea ) have either a narrow or broad band, but never a spot, basally in the hindwing.

Habitat

Large brackish ponds and lakes.

Discussion

This widely distributed species is found across the southern half of the region. It is usually found associated with large brackish bodies of water, but not always. Both males and females of this species are found in equal abundance around the water. They will perch on the tips of vegetation at varying heights, with both wings and abdomen elevated. Occasionally they may be found in large feeding swarms with Hyacinth Glider (Miathyria marcella), rainpool gliders (Pantala ) and saddlebag gliders (Tramea). Males patrol for some distance over open water and along the shoreline. Mating takes place in flight and generally over the open water of ponds and lakes. Males accompany females during egg laying which takes place in open waters or along the shoreline by tapping the abdomen to the surface during long regular approaches to the water. This species is found year around throughout most of its range.

Distribution

Southern U.S., primarily coastal and Central America, West Indies and Venezuela.