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Red Saddlebags

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Tramea onusta

Hagen, 1861

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


This is another red species that is widely distributed across the region. Its face is pale brown initially but turns red in mature male s. The thorax is brown and unmarked. The wings have reddish-brown veins anteriorly and the hindwing have a large basal brown crossband that doesn't generally extend beyond the midrib of the anal loop. Generally there is a large central clear spot in this crossband. The legs are pale turning black more distally. The abdomen is yellowish-brown in females, but turns red in mature males. Segments 8-10 are black dorsally and pale laterally.


Total length: 41-48 mm; abdomen: 28-34 mm; hindwing: 37-42 mm.

Similar Species

This species is most similar to Carolina Saddlebags (T. carolina), but that species has more extensive markings in the hindwing, a metallic purple vertex and abdominal segments 8-10 are nearly all black dorsally.


Permanent and temporary ponds, lakes and slow streams.


This species is commonly seen throughout the region feeding over large fields, meadows and roadways. Males patrol large territories, often flying at great heights. Mating occurs while perched high in bushes and trees. Females will lay eggs alone or in tandem and generally deposit them on algal mats at the water surface.


Southern U.S. becoming more common in southwest; also Mexico, West Indies and Central America south to Venezuela.