Widow Skimmer (Libellula luctuosa)

A large dragonfly with a blue tail and white and black spotted wings rests on a twig.

Gordon Dietzman

These are large, beautiful dragonflies that are very common in certain areas, and not unusual to find anywhere in the Mississippi National River and Recreation Area, except for urban areas.

This dragonfly is easy to identify because no other dragonfly has a similar wing marking pattern in our area.

Like most other dragonflies, the widow skimmer male is territorial and may patrol very large areas to search for females and to chase off other males. After mating, the female usually lays her eggs alone in shallow ponds or lakes. However, if there are many other males around, the original male may jealously guard her while she is laying to make sure some other male doesn't interfere.

Watch for Behavior
Watch the territorial male guard his territory.

Key ID Features: 1.8" long. Male shown above. Female similar but without white wing patches. Male's tail becomes pruinose.

Present in Park: June through August. Common throughout the park. Check the grassy areas southwest of Pickerel Lake in Lilydale Regional Park.

Habitat: Ponds, lakes and surrounding areas.

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