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Black Saddlebags

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Tramea lacerata

Hagen, 1861

Order Odonata
Suborder Anisoptera
Superfamily Libelluloidea
Family Libellulidae
Genus Tramea
Species lacerata Hagen, 1861 [Tramea]


This is the only black saddlebags glider in the region. It is large with a yellowish face in young males and females, that becomes entirely black in mature males. The top of the head, including the vertex is deep metallic violet. The thorax is brown with black iridescence on the sides. The wings are clear except for a broad black crossband covering the basal forth of the hindwing. There is a large prominent clear spot medially in this area, extending to the inner wing margin. The legs are black. The abdomen is black with a pair of yellowish spot s dorsally on the middle segments which becomes obscured except on segment 7.


Total length: 47-55 mm; abdomen: 31-38 mm; hindwing: 40-48 mm.

Similar Species

Marl Pennant (Macrodiplax balteata ) has a round spot rather than saddlebag marking in the basal hindwing area. Azetec Glider (Tauriphila azteca ) has a yellow abdomen.


Marshy ponds, lakes, ditches and slow streams.


This species migrates northward in the spring. Males are often seen in large feeding swarms throughout the day. Females lay eggs as described for the genus, but may do so alone or without being released from the male's grasp. This species probably occurs year round in the southern areas of its range.


Southern Canada and throughout U.S.