California Dragonflies
aka
California Anisoptera

This page links to photos and information about Dragonflies (Anisoptera), but not Damselflies (Zygoptera)
Return to California Dragonflies, Odonata page

Page #s refer to pages in Common Dragonflies of California (revised 2009 edition)


Sketch of a dragonfly body
showing the body parts ...pg. 10
by Tim Manolis

DRAGONFLIES - Anisoptera

Pages 11-75
size - large, heavy-bodied; usually larger than damselflies.
wings - held open & flat or down & forward when perched.
eyes - large, spaced very close together; in most families actually touching, often creating a seam down the center.
behaviors - strong fliers; a few are even migratory. Most dragonflies lay their eggs directly into the water.
males - three terminal abdominal appendages and a bump (genitalia) under their second abdominal segment.
females - only two terminal abdominal appendages and often flanges for egg splashing and/or an ovipositor.
California - at least 72 species recorded as occurring within the state representing all 7 American dragonfly families.

Use the names below as links if you know the family of dragonfly you wish to access, or scroll down to choose from the photo links.
1. Skimmers - Libellulidae 2. Emeralds - Corduliidae 3. Darners - Aeshnidae 4. Clubtails - Gomphidae
5. Spiketails - Cordulegasteridae 6. River Cruisers - Macromiidae 7. Petaltails - Petaluridae

Family: SKIMMERS - Libellulidae


pages 11-47


Field/photo key to Skimmers

Family: SKIMMERS - Libellulidae

17 CA genera, including Gliders, Skimmers, Meadowhawks, Saddlebags, Whitefaces, Whitetails & more; totaling 42 species
sizes: quite variable, lengths: 23 - 65 mm
males: showy nonmetallic colors; some wings patterned; bodies shorter than wingspans; eyes broadly touching
females: frequently more brown or paler than males, usually having similar wing markings; most splash oviposit
habitats: lakes and ponds; still waters of river pools; 2 species at moving water
behaviors: most perch horizontally and fly out to hawk prey; males usually hover-guard ovipositing females
distribution: found throughout the state, all altitudes
Amberwings Perithemis - tiny; wings amber colored; arid regions; 1 CA species
Blue Dasher Pachydiplax - small, blue with white-face; 1 CA species
Clubskimmers Brechmorhoga - large, clubbed abdomen; moving water; 1 CA species
Coastal Pennants Macrodiplax - small, dark, dark basal wing area; 1 CA species
Corporals Ladona - UNCOMMON; medium, dark with white pruinosity; mountain lakes; 1 CA species
Dragonlets Erythrodiplax - RARE; lacey wings, chevroned abdomen, striped eyes; 1 CA species
Filigree Skimmer Pseudoleon - RARE; small dark, developing thin pruinosity; 1 CA species
King Skimmers Libellula - common; showy; wings held out flat; 9 CA species
Meadowhawks Sympetrum - small; reddish; wings held downward; 10 CA species
Pondhawks Erythemis- small/med, blue &/or green, with green-face; 1 CA species
Rainpool Gliders Pantala - strong flyers; often seen flying high overhead; hang perch; 2 CA species
Rock Skimmers Paltothemis - patterned red body with red in the wings; 1 CA species
Saddlebags Tramea - dark areas at hind wing base; strong fliers; 3 CA species
Tropical King Skimmers Orthemis - rose, purple & carmine red colored bodies; clear wings; 1 CA species
Tropical Pennants Brachymesia - red, ski-tipped appendages; 1 CA species
Whitefaces Leucorrhinia - small; dark body & eyes; bright white faces; 4 CA species
Whitetails Plathemis - medium; bright white bodies and dark with bands; 2 CA species
nymph are short, wide, sprawl

Family: EMERALDS - Corduliidae


pages 48-51
Field/Photo key

Family: EMERALDS - Corduliidae

archaic name: Green-eyed Skimmers
3 CA genera including Baskettails, Common and Striped Emeralds, totaling 5 species
sizes: medium - with length of 42 - 55 mm
males: often dark having brilliant metallic tones; some have bodies that are patterned; all have brilliant emerald green or teal green eyes with abdomens that are expanded at the midpoint - spindle shaped
females: like the males except their bodies are more stout with a more even shape
habitats: wooded ponds and streams, usually in the mountains
behaviors: mass emergences early in season; perch by hanging; strong, fast and erratic flyers; sometimes difficult to find, scarce
distribution: found in the central and northern parts of the state, often at high altitudes
Baskettails Epitheca - non-metallic colors; brown and yellow patterned; hairy thoraxes;
found at lower elevations than others; often fly at waist height along trails and paths in sunlit areas; 2 CA species
Common Emeralds Cordulia - dark with metallic green with divergent forked appendages; 1 CA species
Striped Emeralds Somatochlora - dark with metallic green; high flyers; long appendages pointed inwards; 2 CA species
nymph: hairy, dark colored

Family: DARNERS - Aeshnidae


pages 52-61


Field/photo key to Darners

Family: DARNERS - Aeshnidae

4 CA genera, including 11 species:
sizes: large, robust; fast; lengths: 56 - 111 mm
males: large eyes, bodies brilliant blue and/or green with brown
females: many color forms, most showing green and/or yellow instead of blue, with a background of brown and/or purple, others like male, ovipositor under tail base
habitats: breed in lakes, creeks, rivers; feed over fields
behaviors: usually seen in flight; patrol waterways but also often seen catching insects over fields; perch by hanging vertically; most solo oviposit into floating vegetation; some swarm; some migrate; blue coloration darkens when cool
distribution: found throughout the state, at all altitudes
Green Darners Anax - robust, large green eyes meet in center, forms a seam, thorax solid green, abdomen more solidly colored, wings mostly clear but may be yellow-tinged, some are migratory - 2 CA species
Mosaic Darners, Aeshna* - large blue eyes meet in the center, form a seam, mosaic patterned abdomen, difficult to distinguish to species without catching them (in net or digitally) - 4 CA species:
*Research in 2003 split the genus Aeshna
Neotropical/Blue-eyed Darners, Rhionaeschna* - like Mosaic Darners, but having a small bump under the 1st segment - 3 CA species
*Research in 2003 split these from the genus Aeshna
Riffle Darners Oplonaeschna - RARE - very similar to Mosaic darners; top of segment 10 has a fingerlike projection - 1 CA species
nymph - long and slender, crawl about on underwater vegetation

Family: CLUBTAILS - Gomphidae


pages 62-71

Field/Photo key to clubtails

An interesting exuviae pileup!

Family: CLUBTAILS - Gomphidae

6 CA genera totaling 12 species including the Ringtails, Snaketails, Hanging Clubtails, and others
sizes: large, lengths: 41 - 83 mm
males: most have an enlarged area at end of abdomen; black, brown, green and/or yellow patterned; clear wings with wide stigmas; small eyes widely separated; sprawling legs; well camouflaged, snakelike patterning, no blue or red coloring
females: often yellow where male green; bodies cylindrical
habitats: rivers, streams
behaviors: males perch on ground/rocks at beach in sunlit areas;females more often found out on vegetation
distribution: statewide
Common Clubtails Gomphus - some occur at ponds and lakes - 1 CA species
Hanging Clubtails Stylurus - narrow pale triangles down top of black/brown abdomen; hang perch; most in arid lands - 3 CA species
Grappletail Octogomphus - abdomen thin & less patterned than others - 1 CA species
Ringtails Erpetogomphus - ringed appearance to abdomen; short legs - 2 CA species
Sanddragons Progomphus - narrow clubbed abdomen; short legs - 1 CA species
Snaketails Ophiogomphus - very similar with snakelike patterning; most in arid lands - 4 CA species
nymph usually have a life cycle of 2+ years; hide under gravel/sand in riverbeds

MIXED FAMILIES:
Black and Yellow coloration


pages 72-75

Field/photo key to black & yellow mixed families dragonflies

MIXED FAMILIES - Black and Yellow coloration

3 CA families, each with one species, totaling 3 species:
sizes: large; lengths: 54 - 85 mm
males: members of these families & genera have dark background color with yellow markings on the thorax and abdomen; compare by markings, eye shape and color, and by appendage shapes
females: marked like the males but bodies more stout
habitats: life cycle of 2+ years in rivers, streams, seeps
behaviors: Petaltail flight weak, others very strong fliers
distribution: Petaltail in north; others almost statewide
Petaltail Petaluridae - dark eyes do not touch; spots (not stripes) on thorax & abdomen; long stigma; petal-like appendages; nymph semi terrestrial, burrows in seeps - 1 CA species (uncommon)
Cruisers Macromiidae - gray eyes just touch each other; single yellow stripe thorax side; long legs; body arched in powerful flight - 1 CA species
Spiketails Cordulegasteridae - teardrop shaped blue eyes barely touch each other; thorax - two wide yellow stripes top and each side - 1 CA species (2 races)

Family: SKIMMERS - Libellulidae


pages 11-47

Field/photo key to Skimmers

Family: SKIMMERS - Libellulidae

17 CA genera, including Gliders, Skimmers, Meadowhawks, Saddlebags, Whitefaces, Whitetails & more; totaling 42 species
sizes: quite variable, lengths: 23 - 65 mm
males: showy nonmetallic colors; some wings patterned; bodies shorter than wingspans; eyes broadly touching
females: frequently more brown or paler than males, usually having similar wing markings; most splash oviposit
habitats: lakes and ponds; still waters of river pools; 2 species at moving water
behaviors: most perch horizontally and fly out to hawk prey; males usually hover-guard ovipositing females
distribution: found throughout the state, all altitudes
Amberwings Perithemis - tiny; wings amber colored; arid regions; 1 CA species
Blue Dasher Pachydiplax - small, blue with white-face; 1 CA species
Clubskimmers Brechmorhoga - large, clubbed abdomen; moving water; 1 CA species
Coastal Pennants Macrodiplax - small, dark, dark basal wing area; 1 CA species
Corporals Ladona - UNCOMMON; medium, dark with white pruinosity; mountain lakes; 1 CA species
Dragonlets Erythrodiplax - RARE; lacey wings, chevroned abd., striped eyes; 1 CA species
Filigree Skimmer Pseudoleon - RARE; small dark, developing thin pruinosity; 1 CA species
King Skimmers Libellula - common; showy; wings held out flat; 9 CA species
Meadowhawks Sympetrum - small; reddish; wings held downward; 10 CA species
Pondhawks Erythemis- small/med, blue &/or green, with green-face; 1 CA species
Rainpool Gliders Pantala - strong flyers; often seen flying high overhead; hang perch; 2 CA species
Rock Skimmers Paltothemis - patterned red body with red in the wings; 1 CA species
Saddlebags Tramea - dark areas at hind wing base; strong fliers; 3 CA species
Tropical King Skimmers Orthemis - rose, purple & carmine red colored bodies; clear wings; 2 CA species
Tropical Pennants Brachymesia - red, ski-tipped appendages; 1 CA species
Whitefaces Leucorrhinia - small; dark body & eyes; bright white faces; 4 CA species
Whitetails Plathemis - medium; bright white bodies and dark with bands; 2 CA species
nymph are short, wide, sprawl


Photos
male
male
male
male
male
male
male
male
male
male
male
male
male
images by Ray Bruun at his Flickr website
images by Don Roberson his Monterey website
images by John Sterling at his website
images by Doug Aguillard at his website
images at Odonata of Orange County
image by Mark Chappell at his website
female image by Joshua Roses at his website
female
female
female
female
female
male-colored female
female ovipositing
female ovipositing
Scans
male
male
male
male-colored female
male - USA

Flame Skimmer Libellula saturata...pg. 12
archaic name - Big Red Skimmer

size: medium/large, length 50 - 60 mm, wingspan 85 - 93 mm

male:
red-orange eyes, face, thorax, legs, abdomen and appendages; thorax unstriped; wings reddish from base to slightly beyond nodus, red streak along leading edge from nodus to stigma, red veins; wings when at rest held out flat, not downward

female: usually paler than male, wings show an orange streak along the leading wing edges and brown streaks near the base; 2nd wing vein from front edge yellow; rarer male-like form exists

similar species: male Neon Skimmer has less color in wings; Cardinal Meadowhawk often holds wings down and forward;
female Neon Skimmer's second wing vein from front edge not yellow

habitat: ponds, lakes, slow streams, pools of rivers

behavior: males claim territory perching at water; perch with wings held out flat; hawk insects from perch
females solo splash oviposit

California flight period: February - December

California distribution: common statewide

California distribution map

Southwestern distribution map

Photos

male
male
male
male
male
male
male
images by Doug Aguillard at his website
images by Ray Bruun at his Flickr website
multiple images Orange County
images by Mark Chappell at his website
images by John Sterling at his website
female
female
female
female
female
female
newly emerged females
Scans
male
female

Neon Skimmer Libellula croceipennis ...pg. 13

size: large, length 54 - 59 mm, wingspan 78 - 92 mm

male: very wide bright neon red/pink abdomen, thorax, face, eyes & legs; thorax and underside can be tawny; noticeable pale line atop thorax; red on wings does not extend as far as the nodus except near the leading edge, mostly basal, stigma wide, dark outline

female: wide pale tan/orange body, noticeable pale stripe atop thorax; wings mostly clear, lacks brown streaks or 2nd vein from front's being yellow

similar species: male Flame Skimmer has color in wings clear to the nodus
comparison photo #1 to more common male Flame Skimmer
comparison photo #2 to more common male Flame Skimmer
female Flame Skimmer has more color in wings, with 2nd vein from front being yellow

habitat: marshy creeks/ditches

behavior: perches with wings out flat, often in the shade

flight period: June - November

California distribution: many areas but sporadic

California distribution map

Southwestern distribution map

Photos

male
male
male
male
male
images by Bob Miller at his website
images by Doug Aguillard at his website
images at Odonata of Orange County
images by Don Roberson at his Monterey website
images by Mark Chappell at his website
images by John Sterling at his website
female
female
female
female
possibe migratory event at Doug Aguillard's website
Scans
male - USA
female

Red Rock Skimmer Paltothemis lineatipes ...pg. 14
archaic name - rusty skimmer

size: medium, length 45 - 55 mm, wingspan 90 - 95 mm

male: face red, legs and eyes rusty red; abdomen intricately patterned with rusty red and black; variable amount rusty red on inner wings (usually nearly to nodus), short dark stigma; thorax can be olive-brown on sides

female: tan/brown; intricate batik-like pattern but no red on body; no color in wings

behavior: perches on midstream rocks

habitat: rocky streams

flight period: February - early December

California distribution: all but far northern Calif.

California distribution map

Southwestern distribution map


Photos

male
male
male
male
male
male
immature male
images by John Sterling at his website
images by Ray Bruun at his Flickr website
images by Doug Aguillard at his website
female image by Tom Murray at his website
female
female
female
female
female
female
dark female
female with eggs
Scans
male
immature male
male
male
male
female

Band-winged Meadowhawk Sympetrum semicinctum, ...pg. 15
NOTE: this species 'LUMPED' - prior to 2007 it was known as Western Meadowhawk Sympetrum occidentale

size: medium length 28 - 36 mm, wingspan 45 - 55 mm

male: abdomen deep red with black markings on the lower sides and atop segments 8 & 9; hind wings rusty to nodus, front wings usually less colored than hind wings; 3 irregular black stripes on thorax sides that are shaped like black flames; black legs; eyes and face dark rusty red; immature males are yellow like females

female: usually yellow where male is red, but mature females may turn red;
often less color in wings than males

habitat: weedy ponds, lakes

flight period: April - November

California distribution: found in many areas, usually in the hills or mountains

California distribution map

Southwestern distribution map

Photos

male
male
male
male
male
male
male
male
male
male
male
immature male
immature male
immature male
immature male
immature male
tandem pair
tandem pairs
tandem pair
tandem pair
pair in wheel
images by Ray Bruun at his Flickr website
images by Doug Aguillard at his website
images by John Sterling at his website
images by Don Roberson at his Monterey website
images at Odonata of Orange County
female
female
female
teneral female
pair in wheel
nymph
eggs
eggs
eggs
emergence sequence
emergence sequence
Scans
male
males
male
female
female
female
nymph
exuviae
exuviae

Cardinal Meadowhawk Sympetrum illotum ...pg. 16
archaic name - dusty skimmer

size: medium, length 31 - 40 mm, wingspan 52 - 60 mm

male: cardinal red head, thorax, abdomen, wing veins; red on wings diffuse, only close to body and near leading edge; wings have very small dark streaks at extreme base; thorax sides have two small white spots; body with no black, appears stubby; red legs

female: less colorful, often reddish tan; stout; pale red legs

similar species:
Red-veined Meadowhawk has black legs; Flame Skimmer holds wings out flat

behavior: like most meadowhawks, perches with wings often held down and forward
tandem oviposit most frequently, but sometimes males hover guard if no other males are around:
1. video clip (~4 MB) of pair tandem ovipositing on Facebook
2. video clip (~5 MB) of female solo ovipositing on Facebook - click on link to play
Emerge on vegetation about 3" above the waterline, most often during the mornings

habitat: ponds, lakes

flight period: March - early December

California distribution: common statewide

California distribution map

Southwestern distribution map

Photos

male
male
male
male
male
male
male
male
male
immature male
images by John Sterling at his website
images by Ray Bruun at his Flickr website
images by Doug Aguillard at his website
female
female
female close up of thorax
female
immature female
Scans
male
male
female

Red-veined Meadowhawk Sympetrum madidum...pg. 17

size: medium, length 40 - 45 mm, wingspan 60 - 68 mm

male: dark red face and abdomen.; thoracic stripes partly obscured by red; underside abdomen dark, usually dark spots atop segments 8 & 9; distinct red wing “stripe” touches darkish stigma; no black areas near wing base; jet black legs

female: tawny body; segments 1 & 2 bulbous; dull yellow face; wings like male; jet black legs

similar species:
Cardinal Meadowhawk has pale red legs, Saffron-winged Meadowhawk has black on thorax sides

behavior: like most meadowhawks, perches with wings often held down and forward

habitat: ponds, marshes, lakes

flight period: April - September

California distribution: sporadic, sometimes uncommon

California distribution map

Southwestern distribution map

Photos

male
male
male
male
male
young male
immature male
immature male
immature male
pair
pair
images by Ray Bruun at his Flickr website
images by John Sterling at his website
images by Doug Aguillard at his website
female
female
femlae
Scans
male
male
male
teneral male
pair
pair
pair
female
female
female
female
female

Saffron-winged Meadowhawk Sympetrum costiferum...pg. 18

size: small, length 31 - 39 mm, wingspan 52 - 63 mm

male: body red when mature; immature is golden; leading wing veins golden to yellow/red dark edged stigma; usually dark spots atop seg. 8 & 9; underside abdomen black; legs striped black and yellow

female: like immature male; beautiful saffron yellow body

similar species:
Red-veined Meadowhawk has white on thorax sides

habitat: woody marshes, ponds, lakes, creeks

California flight period: June - late October

California distribution: eastern mountains (Sierra Nevada, Cascades)

California distribution map

Southwestern distribution map

Photos

male
male
pair
images by Ray Bruun at his Flickr website
images by John Sterling at his website
female
female
Scans
male side view
male top view
teneral male side view
teneral male top view
teneral female side view
teneral female side view
teneral female top view
immature female side view

Autumn [formerly Yellow-legged] Meadowhawk Sympetrum vicinum...pg. 19

size: small/medium, length 28 - 35 mm, wingspan 42 - 46 mm

male: all red body when mature; immature yellow; no stripes on thorax; slender abdomen with greatly reduced or no black; thin yellow-red legs; wings clear with yellow-amber at base and no “stripe”; often the last species flying in the fall

female: less colorful; very prominent ovipositor; segments 2-3 bulbous when seen from the side

habitat: lakes, ponds

California flight period: September - October

California distribution: northeastern mountains

California distribution map

Southwestern distribution map


Photos

male
male
male
male
male
male
immature male
immature male
immature male
immature male
images by Ray Bruun at his Flickr website
images by Doug Aguillard at his website
images by Don Roberson at his Monterey website
images by John Sterling at his website
female
female
female
female
female
female
Scans
male
immature male
very mature male
female
female

Striped Meadowhawk Sympetrum pallipes...pg. 20

size: medium, length 34 - 38 mm, wingspan 56 - 62 mm

male: mature red, immature golden; 2 pale top and side thoracic stripes (top stripes lacking in other red-abdomened CA meadowhawks); pale face; clear wings, one rust vein; velvet-like dots where wings join thorax; rounded black marks low on abdomen

female: tawny or red brown

similar species:
White-faced Meadowhawk lacks white stripes on thorax; has jagged dark marks low on abdomen; Variegated Meadowhawk's abdomen isn't mostly red

habitat: ponds and lakes

behavior: tandem oviposit, sometimes over dry ground near lakeshore

California flight period: April - November, more common in fall

California distribution: all but far southern Calif.

California distribution map

Southwestern distribution map


Photos

male
male
male
male
male
female
female
images by John Sterling at his website
images by Ray Bruun at his Flickr website
images by Doug Aguillard at his website
pair
female
Scans
male
male - OR
male - OR
male - BC
female

White-faced Meadowhawk Sympetrum obtrusum...pg. 21

size: small, length 30 - 39 mm, wingspan 48 - 55 mm

male: white face; abdomen and thorax red; thoracic side stripes on immatures only, no top stripes; distinct black triangles lower sides of abdomen; wings with amber wash near base, veins not reddish

female: golden or similar to male; face greenish white

similar species:
Striped Meadowhawk has white stripes on thorax; rounded dark marks low on abdomen

habitat: marshes, lakes, wet meadows in highlands

California flight period: May - October; more common in the fall

California distribution: northern mountains

California distribution map

Southwestern distribution map


Photos

male
male
images by Ray Bruun at his Flickr website
female
female
female
female
Scans
male
male
male
male
male
male
males
immature male
immature male
female
female
female
female
female
females

Cherry-faced Meadowhawk Sympetrum internum...checklist (not featured in CDC Revised)

size: small/medium length 28 - 36 mm, wingspan 46 - 52 mm

male: overall dark red; plain brown-red thorax; dull cherry red face when mature
immature - tawny yellow; black legs; clear wings with leading veins reddish yellow, only a small basal amber wash; triangular black marks low on abdomen sides

female: body less colorful; wings at base extensively amber colored; can have as much color in wings as a Western/Band-winged Meadowhawk

similar species: compare male to White-faced Meadowhawk, females to Band-winged Meadowhawk

habitat: wet meadows; slow waters

California flight period: June - September

California distribution: RARE: north eastern mountains

California distribution map

Southwestern distribution map

Photos

male
male
male
mature male
mature male
male in flight
male in flight
images by John Sterling at his website
images by Ray Bruun at his Flickr website
images by Doug Aguillard at his website
images by Don Roberson at his Monterey website
images at Odonata of Orange County
images by Mark Chappell at his website
image by Joshua Rose at his website
female
female
female
female
female
female
female
pair in wheel
pair ovipositing
Scans
male
male
male
male
immature male
very mature male
female
female
female

Variegated Meadowhawk Sympetrum corruptum ...pg. 22
archaic name - pastel skimmer

size: medium, length 34 - 43 mm, wingspan 60 - 66 mm

male: quite variable; olive/gray and reddish-orange plaid, turns redder as it ages; unique white “porthole-like” spots low on abdomen; thoracic white stripes end in yellow spot, then the white becomes obscured as it matures; stigma bicolored; leading wing veins colored

female: less red; more muted &/or pastel

habitat: all slow water

behavior: migratory; some may over-winter

flight period: year round, migratory; may over winter

California distribution: common statewide

California distribution map

Southwestern distribution map

Photos

male
male
male
images by Doug Aguillard at his website
images by Ray Bruun at his Flickr website
images at Odonata of Orange County
images by Mark Chappell at his website
female
female
female
Scans
male
male
immature male
female
female

Red-tailed Pennant Brachymesia furcata ...pg. 23

size: medium, length 39 - 46 mm, wingspan 65 - 74 mm

male: Meadowhawk-like; stocky; face & dark eyes; abdomen red; thorax olive/brown; usually thin dark ring each abdominal segment, black spots atop segment 8 & 9; wings have dark veins, amber at base with long stigma; segments 2 & 3 bulbous; legs black; appendages appear “ski-tipped”

female: yellowish brown with pale stripe between wings; wings with amber wash at abdomen base; small black spots segments * & 9

habitat: ponds, lakes, canals

behavior: perches with wings out flat

California flight period: March - December

California distribution: southern Calif.

California distribution map

Southwestern distribution map

Photos

male
male
male
multiple images
images by Ray Bruun at his Flickr website
images by John Sterling at his website
female
female
female
Scans
male
female - OR
female - OR

Hudsonian Whiteface Leucorrhinia hudsonica ...pg. 23

size: small, length 30 - 36 mm, wingspan 44 - 57 mm

male: dainty; dark eyes; bright white face; red on thorax and segments 1 & 2; abdomen black with red spots along top of segments 3-7 (yellow in immature); costa yellow from nodus

female: same or black with yellow

similar species: compare closely to immature and females of other Whiteface species - pale spot on segment 7 always longer than wide

habitat: sedge marshes; shallow pond edges with sedges

California flight period: late May - September

California distribution: northern mountains

California distribution map

Southwestern distribution map

Photos

male
male
male
male
male
images by John Sterling at his website
images by Ray Bruun at his Flickr website
pair in wheel
pair in wheel
mature female
Scans
male
teneral male
pair
pair
female
female
teneral female
female & exuvia

Crimson-ringed Whiteface Leucorrhinia glacialis...pg. 25

size: medium, length 35 - 39 mm, wingspan 54 - 60 mm

male: black with only segments 1 & 2 and thorax marked with red; bright white face; lower appendages half the length of the uppers

female: same or yellow & black

similar species: RARE Belted Whiteface's lower appendages are 2/3rds length of uppers.
To identify species use
wing venation illustration and appendage length.

habitat: boggy ponds, mountain lakes

California flight period: late May - early September

California distribution: northern mountains

California distribution map

Southwestern distribution map

Photos

male
pair in wheel - BC
Scans
scans by Dennis Paulson at his website
male - USA

Belted [formerly Red-waisted] Whiteface Leucorrhinia proxima ... pg. 25 (mentioned)

size: medium, length 32 - 38 mm, wingspan 50 - 55 mm

male: black with only segments 1 & 2 and thorax marked with red; bright white face; lower appendage length 2/3rds length of uppers; to identify to species use wing venation illustrations

female: same or yellow & black

habitat: boggy ponds, mountain lakes

California flight period: June - August

California distribution: RARE: Plumas County, Willow Lake

California distribution map

Southwestern distribution map

Photos

male
male
male
male
male
images by Doug Aguillard at his website
images by Ray Bruun at his Flickr website
image by Joshua Rose at his website
female
mature female
immature female
Scans
male
male

Dot-tailed Whiteface Leucorrhinia intacta...pg. 26

size: medium length 29 - 35 mm, wingspan 48 - 58 mm

male: black body and eyes with bright white face; mature male has large yellow dot only on segment 7; immature is marked like female, then as it matures the yellow becomes obscured. Make identification carefully as there are many transitional stages

female: like male or showing much more yellow, even atop abdomen, and always including segment 7

habitat: spring-fed ponds, bogs, lakes; often with water lilies

California flight period: May - early September

California distribution: northern mountains

California distribution map

Southwestern distribution map

Photos

male
male
male
immature male
teneral male
images by Ray Bruun at his Flickr website
images by Doug Aguillard at his website
images by John Sterling at his website
female
female
female
female
female - Europe!
teneral female
pair
Scans
male
male
male
immature male - OR
immature male - OR
immature male
pair
female
female

Black Meadowhawk Sympetrum danae...pg. 27
aka Black Darter (Europe)

size: very small, length 27 - 32 mm, wingspan 44 - 49 mm

male: when mature, all black including face; clear wings, dark stigma; legs all black; very petite; immature shows complex yellow markings thorax sides including 3 yellow dots in black belt, yellow areas along and atop abdomen and on face

female: like immature male; variable amber wing wash

habitat: all slow mountain waters

California flight period: June - October

California distribution: northern mountains

California distribution map

Southwestern distribution map

Photos

male
male
male, side view
male, side view
male
male
male in flight
male in flight
image by Dennis Paulson at his website
images by Doug Aguillard at his website
images by Ray Bruun at his Flickr website
images by John Sterling at his website
images by Don Roberson at his Monterey website
female
female
female
Scans
male
male
male
female
female
female

Pale-faced Clubskimmer Brechmorhoga mendax...pg. 28

size: large, length 52 - 63 mm, wingspan 68 - 88 mm

male: narrow abdomen is club-shaped at end, 2 large very closely spaced pale spots atop segment 7, smaller gray areas segments 1-5; gray face and thoracic stripes; clear wings;

female: like male but wings tips and small basal area brown; abdomen not as clubbed

behavior: hang perch; males patrol streams, rivers, flying across the width at areas with ripples;
females oviposit at river areas with ripples

similar species: Clubtails often perch on rocks and near river edges; their eyes don't touch

habitat: moving waters of rivers and streams

California flight period: April - November

California distribution: valleys and foothills

California distribution map

Southwestern distribution map

Photos

male
male
images by Doug Aguillard at his website
images by Ray Bruun at his Flickr website
female
female
female
Scans
male
male
male - AZ
male - AZ
female
female
female
female

Marl Pennant Macrodiplax balteata...pg. 29

size: small/medium, length 36 - 44 mm, wingspan 67 - 72 mm

male: all dark wide head & eyes; small dark basal patches on wings; dark “hairy” thorax; abdomen with thin pale rings

female: wings like male; pale face; thorax & abdomen yellow on golden brown; thorax sides have 3 pale areas; abdomen tip dark

habitat: brackish coastal ponds, desert oases; specializes on saline & especially alkaline habitats

California flight period: May - October

California distribution: southeastern, uncommon

California distribution map

Southwestern distribution map

Photos

male
male
images by Doug Aguillard at his website
male - AZ
male - AZ
male - AZ
male- AZ
female
Scans
male -AZ
immature male -AZ

Plateau Dragonlet Erythrodiplax basifusca...checklist

size: small/medium, length 24 - 34 mm, wingspan 43 - 53 mm

male: black abdomen develops thin blue pruinosity on segments 1-7; face tawny to metallic black; wings clear except hind wing often with small basal dark amber patch

female: yellow, brown side stripe

habitat: marshy ponds, lakes

California flight period: mid-July

California distribution: RARE; West Pond, Imperial Dam Recreation Area, Imperial Co.

California distribution map

Southwestern distribution map


Photos

male
male
male
male
male
male
male
male
images by Doug Aguillard at his website
images by Ray Bruun at his Flickr website
images at Odonata of Orange County
images by Mark Chappell at his website
female
female
female
Scans
male
male
male - AZ
female
female
female
female

Mexican Amberwing Perithemis intensa...pg. 30

size: very small, length 23 - 29 mm, wingspan 40- 45 mm

male: very small & stubby; all bright orange including legs and wings, orange stigma; thorax tawny, no distinct spots; very unwary; tend to perch on twigs; immatures more yellow

female: yellow-orange body; wings - amber-orange bands with dark spots, darker stigma than male

behavior: very unwary;
tend to perch on twigs

habitat: ponds, lakes, slow streams, pools of rivers

California flight period: April - November

California distribution: southern Calif.

California distribution map

Southwestern distribution map

Photos

male
male
male
male
male
immature male
immature male
images by Doug Aguillard at his website
images by Bob Miller at his website
images by Ray Bruun at his Flickr website
images at Orange County Odonata
multiple images by Don Roberson at his website
multiple images by Mark Chappell at his website
female
female
female
male & ovipositing female
Scans
male
female
female - AZ
female - AZ

Roseate Skimmer Orthemis ferruginea ...pg. 31

size: medium, length 47 - 55 mm, wingspan 80 - 92 mm

male: thorax rose pink &/or plum pruinose; rose pruinose on abdomen; clear wings very narrowly tipped with brown, wide stigma; face purple,
top metallic; purple/brown eyes

female: orange-brown; complex pale pattern thorax sides; light stripe atop thorax center; segment 8 with noticeable flanges; long stigma, brown tip

habitat: ponds, lakes, canals

California flight period: all year in the south

California distribution: southern Calif. - found once in Santa Cruz (2013)

California distribution map

Southwestern distribution map

Photos

male
male
male
male
male
male
male
male
male
male
male in flight
images by Doug Aguillard at his website
images at Odonata of Orange County
images by Mark Chappell at his website
female
female
female
female
Scans
male
male

Red Saddlebags Tramea onusta ...pg. 32

size: medium length 41 - 49 mm, wingspan 80 - 90 mm

male: red or rusty red including eyes; thorax tawny; black spots atop segments 8-10;
hind wings base has broad red saddle mark
does not show dark streaks at the base of the forewing
female: tawny; black spots atop tip of abdomen

similar species: Rare Striped Saddlebags has stripes on thorax, much narrower 'saddle' marks
behavior: migratory; during especially warm weather has dispersal events when it flies to the north; powerful flier; frequently perch with abdomen lowered, using the saddle mark to shade their abdomen

habitat: warm shallow ponds

California flight period: early February - November

California distribution: southern (strays north)

California distribution map

Southwestern distribution map

Photos

multiple images
male
male
male
male
in flight
images by Doug Aguillard at his website
images at Don Roberson's website
images at Mark Chappell's website
Scans
scans by Dennis Paulson at his website
female

Striped Saddlebags Tramea calverti ... pg. 32 (mentioned)

size: medium length 45 - 49 mm, wingspan 80 - 86 mm

male: similar to Red Saddlebags but with 2 pale stripes on side of thorax; mostly red or rusty red including eyes; segments 8-10 become dark on top & sides; hind wings have narrow dark saddle mark; often slightly yellow; powerful flier

female: tawny; 2 broad side stripes on thorax; segments 8-10 of abdomen black

similar species: Red Saddlebags has NO stripes on thorax, much wider 'saddle' marks

habitat: warm shallow ponds and other quiet waters, including brackish and temporary

California flight period: August - November

California distribution: RARE: only recently found in CA (2006 - possibly strays)

California distribution map

Southwestern distribution map

Photos

male
male
male
male
images by Ray Bruun at his Flickr website
images by Doug Aguillard at his website
images by John Sterling at his website
images by Don Roberson at his Monterey website
images by Mark Chappell at his website
images at Odonata of Orange County
in flight
pair in flight
female
female
female
female
female
female
female
female
Scans
male
male
male
male
male
male
male
female

Black Saddlebags Tramea lacerata...pg. 33
archaic name - black-mantled glider

size: medium/large, length 47 - 55 mm, wingspan 92 - 100 mm

male: black body; diffuse yellow spot top of abdomen;
broad black saddle mark on hind wings; folded long legs give thorax bulky look in flight

at least some of the time, shows dark streaks at the base of the forewing
female: similar but more brown, yellow spots atop segments 2-7

habitat: ponds, lakes, creeks, and slow areas of rivers

behavior: tandem ovipositoviposit - "Tramea Dance 1" powerful flier; usually perch horizontally; migratory

flight period: March - November

California distribution: common statewide

California distribution map

Southwestern distribution map

Photos

male
male
male
male
male
male
in flight
images by Doug Aguillard at his website
images by John Sterling at his website
images by Bob Miller at his website
images by Don Roberson at his Monterey website
images by Ray Bruun at his Flickr website
images at Odonata of Orange County
images by Mark Chappell at his website
female
Scans
male
male
female side view
female top view
female top view
female

Wandering Glider Pantala flavescens...pg. 34
aka Globe Skimmer (Europe)

size: medium, length 44 - 51 mm, wingspan 81 - 91 mm

male: golden yellow-brown with dark pattern along abdomen top; yellowish face; mature has red eyes; broad clear wings, hind wing very wide, sometimes a yellow wash at tips and at the base, golden stigma

female: similar

similar species: Spot-winged glider has a dark basal wing spot;
comparison shot, males


behavior: strong gliding flight; vagrant, migrant; seldom perch, often feed in mixed swarms, follow weather fronts; can complete life cycle in only a few weeks/months, unlike other dragonflies which take about a year

habitat: open still waters (even temporary); frequently found in yards

California flight period: all year in the south, March - December in the north

California distribution: statewide; a cosmopolitan species

California distribution map

Southwestern distribution map

Photos

male
male
male
male
male
images by John Sterling at his website
images by Doug Aguillard at his website
images by Don Roberson at his Monterey website
images by Ray Bruun at his Flickr website
images at Odonata of Orange County
multiple images at Mark Chappell's website
female
female
female
female
emergence
Scans
male
male
male
male
female
female
female
female
nymph
exuviae

Spot-winged Glider Pantala hymenaea...pg. 35

size: medium length 43 - 51 mm, wingspan 85 - 95 mm

male: robust; body patterned golden browns, generally darker brown than Wandering Glider; tawny or rufous stigma; red face; clear front wing; wide hind wing with a small round dark basal spot (often difficult to see in flight)

female: like male, patterned less boldly; yellow face

similar species: Wandering Glider lacks basal dark spot on hind wing;
comparison shot, males

behavior: flier, seldom perch, often feed in mixed swarms, strong gliding flight; migrant, often seen after weather change follow weather fronts; can complete life cycle in only a few weeks/months, unlike other dragonflies which take about a year

habitat: ponds (even temporary), lakes, river backwaters, yards

California flight period: March - December

California distribution: statewide; common in southern lowlands

California distribution map

Southwestern distribution map

Photos

male
male
male
male
ID hint
images by John Sterling at his website
images by Ray Bruun at his Flickr website
images by Doug Aguillard at his website
images by Bob Miller at his website
images by Don Roberson at Monterey website
images at Odonata of Orange County
images by Mark Chappell at his website
male emergence sequence
image by Joshua Rose at his website
female
female
female
female
female
female emergence sequence
Scans
male
female

Blue Dasher Pachydiplax longipennis...pg. 36

size: medium length 32 - 42 mm, wingspan 50 - 60 mm

male: pruinose blue, developing dark tip, tan under segments 1-3;
distinctive white face with black between the eyes; striped thorax can become all blue; teal green/blue eyes; wings can show brown tinted areas

female: rectangular buff marks on dark background; no other is like it; white face

similar species: Western Pondhawk has GREEN face; Comanche Skimmer has white stigmas, Bleached Skimmer has pale eyes

behavior: often perches with wings held down and forward, but also often holds them out flat

habitat: ponds, slow waters

California flight period: March - November

California distribution: common statewide

California distribution map

Southwestern distribution map


Photos

immature male
male
images by Doug Aguillard at his website
images by Ray Bruun at his Flickr website
images by Don Roberson at his Monterey website
images by John Sterling at his website
images by Mark Chappell at his website
female
female
female
female
female
female
female
female
females
female
Scans
male
male
immature male
immature male
immature male
immature male
immature male
immature male
female
female
female

Western Pondhawk Erythemis simplicollis collocata...pg. 37

size: medium length 39 - 42 mm, wingspan 60 - 65 mm

male: pruinose blue with bright green face; deep blue eyes; dark yellow stigma edged in black; dark appendages; immature like female with thorax last to turn blue, no dark patches/spots/bands on wings

female: emerald green body has a thin dark line along middle top; some yellow near tip; green eyes; no other like her

similar species: Blue Dasher has WHITE face (but green eyes can fool you, look carefully!); Comanche Skimmer has white stigmas, Bleached Skimmer has pale eyes

behavior: usually perches low, often on or near the ground or
on floating vegetation; can perch with wings held down and forward, but often hold them out flat; known to prey on other dragonflies, (2nd image)

habitat: ponds, creek pools

California flight period: February - October

California distribution: common statewide

California distribution map

Southwestern distribution map

Photos
multiple images - AZ/MX
multiple images - CR & TX
male - CA
male - TX
female - TX
Scans
female top - TX
female side - TX

Great Pondhawk Erythemis vesiculosa

size: large, length 55 - 65 mm, wingspan 80 - 82 mm

male: narrow long green abdomen with dark and pale bands; eyes green-gray; appendages white; juvenile has green stigma; wary; often flies with abdomen raised 30 degrees

female: like male; eyes dark brown; thin abdomen with short inconspicuous ovipositor

habitat: ponds; pools of creeks and rivers

flight period: October 2

distribution: rare, vagrant; Riverside

California distribution map

Southwestern distribution map

Photos

male
male
male
male
males
immature male
immature male
immature male
images by Ray Bruun at his Flickr website
images by Doug Aguillard at his website
images by John Sterling at his website
images by Bob Miller at his website
female
female
female
females
female
female
female
female
Scans
male
male
male
scans by Dennis Paulson at his website
female
female
female by Dennis Paulson at his website

Comanche Skimmer Libellula comanche...pg. 38

size: medium/large, length 46 - 56 mm, wingspan 70 - 89 mm

male: pruinose blue body with
white face; pearly blue or greenish eyes; wings clear, bold white stigma with dark edge; immature has the thorax with bold pale yellow patches

female: brown abdomen has a continuous pale yellow side stripe; pale eyes, pale yellow face and stigma with dark edge; wings often darkish at tips and leading edge

similar species: Blue Dasher lacks white stigma; Bleached Skimmer has pale eyes and dark stigma

habitat: alkaline ponds, springs, ditches

California flight period: April - late October

California distribution: all desert regions

California distribution map

Southwestern distribution map

Photos

male
male
male
male
male
immature male
pair
pair ovipositing
images by John Sterling at his website
images by Ray Bruun at his Flickr website
images by Doug Aguillard at his website
female
female
Scans
male
male
male
scans by Dennis Paulson at his website

Bleached Skimmer Libellula composita...pg. 39

size: medium, length 41 - 50 mm, wingspan 75 - 85 mm

male: pruinose blue body becomes bleached/washed out and dirty in appearance;
pale eyes; white face; pale areas thorax sides; wings have a dark patch at base and usually a small dark spot at nodus, dark veins, wide black stigma, pale costa (vein along leading edge of the wing)

female: wings like male; abdomen has interrupted pale yellow stripes, pale eyes and face

similar species: Comanche Skimmer has white stigma; Blue Dasher is smaller

habitat: alkaline ponds, springs in the desert

California flight period: early April - end of September

California distribution: south-eastern CA, Modoc Co.

California distribution map

Southwestern distribution map

Photos

male
male
male
male
male
male
images by John Sterling at his website
images by Doug Aguillard at his website
images by Ray Bruun at his Flickr website
tandem ovipositing
tandem ovipositing
female
female
female
female
male-colored female
Scans
male
male scans by Dennis Paulson at his website
male
male
female scans by Dennis Paulson at his website
female
female
male-colored female

Hoary Skimmer Libellula nodisticta...pg. 40

size: medium/large, length 46 - 52 mm, wingspan 76 - 82 mm

male: thorax and abdomen become pruinose blue-gray; thorax has 2 broken yellow stripes; yellow spots low on abdomen; wings have small dark area at base and nodus, basal dark wing area becomes surrounded by white, black stigma; no other white on wings

female: dark gray/brown with row of yellow dashes along thorax and abdomen side; older females may become pruinose like male

similar species: Bleached Skimmer has no white on wings; pale eyes and dark stigma

habitat: springs; spring-fed streams

California flight period: April - September

California distribution: all foothills; sporadic, uncommon

California distribution map

Southwestern distribution map

Photos

male
male
male
male
male
male
male
immature male
immature male
images by John Sterling at his website
images by Ray Bruun at his Flickr website
images by Doug Aguillard at his website
images by Don Roberson at his Monterey website
female
female
female
female
female
Scans
male
female

Widow Skimmer Libellula luctuosa...pg. 41

size: medium, length 40 - 50 mm, wingspan 76 - 80 mm

male: inside half of wings blackish-brown, outer wings develop extensive white pruinosity; body becomes pale blue pruinose, color often rubbed off on mid-side of abdomen; range expanding

female: brown with yellow side stripes; wings have large dark basal patch like male's, but don't develop white pruinosity and have dark tips

habitat: ponds, lakes, pools of rivers & creeks, marshes

California flight period: end of April - October

California distribution: all but eastern Calif.; expanding its range within CA

California distribution map

Southwestern distribution map

Photos

male
male
male
male
male
male
male
immature male
immature male
immature male
images by Ray Bruun at his Flickr website
images by Doug Aguillard at his website
images by John Sterling at his website
images by Don Roberson at his Monterey website
female by Joshua Rose at his website
female
female
female
female
female
multiple ovipositing images
ovipositing .avi movie (25mb)
ovipositing .avi movie with mosquito fish eating eggs (19MB)
Scans
male
female
female

Common Whitetail Plathemis (formerly Libellula) lydia ...pg. 42

size: medium, length 40 - 48 mm, wingspan 65 - 75 mm

male: mature has broad gleaming white pruinose abdomen with wings having a dark band for 1/3 width extending from just before the nodus towards tip, small black basal bar surrounded by a small white area; immature with abdomen like female's but with wing markings like a mature male - it then develops thin bluish white pruinosity; thorax top white only near wings; face dark

female: 3 dark wing spots; wide brown body; yellow side dashes separated and angled

similar species: compare male to
Desert Whitetail which has much more white in the wing;
compare female with female 12-spotted Skimmer, which has continuous yellow side stripe

behavior: often perches on wood or rocks extending from the water, or near the water's edge

habitat: marshes, streams

California flight period: March - October

California distribution: statewide

California distribution map

Southwestern distribution map

Photos

male
male
immature male
juvenile male
juvenile male
image by Dennis Paulson at his website
images by Doug Aguillard at his website
images by John Sterling at his website
images by Tom Murray at his website
images by Ray Bruun at his Flickr website
female
female
female
female
Scans
male top; side
male
male
male
immature male top; side
female top; side

Desert Whitetail Plathemis (formerly Libellula) subornata ...p. 43

size: medium length 39 - 50 mm, wingspan 65 - 75 mm

male: pruinose white abdomen; wings have 2 narrow zigzag black bands, develops dark between bands, extensive white pruinosity interior half; segment 10 and appendages remain dark

female: brown body; 2 pale, jagged thoracic stripes; row of straight (not angled) yellow side dashes on abdomen; each wing has dual zigzag bands, clear wing tips

similar species: compare male to
Common Whitetail which has much less white in the wing

habitat: desert springs, ponds, lakes

flight period: April - October

California distribution: all deserts

California distribution map

Southwestern distribution map

Photos

female - CA
male - AZ
male - AZ
male - AZ
images by Doug Aguillard at his website
females - AZ
female - AZ
female - AZ
Scans
male - AZ
female - TX
female - TX
male - USA

Filigree Skimmer Pseudoleon superbus...checklist

size: medium length 38 - 45 mm, wingspan 63 - 73 mm

male: wings variably dark & lacy, sometimes almost all dark; brown body with pale chevrons ages to nearly all black; eyes are striped and when mature are nearly all black; perch low, often on rocks/debris, often in oblique posture

female: lace pattern on wings more open; spout like ovipositor

habitat: rocky, clear streams

California flight period: May

California distribution: RARE: found twice in CA, San Diego Co. 2004

California distribution map

Southwestern distribution map

Photos

male
male
male
immature male
images by Doug Aguillard at his website
images by John Sterling at his website
images by Ray Bruun at his Flickr website
images by Don Roberson at his Monterey website
female
female
female
female
female
female
unusual female
Scans
immature male
immature male
scans by Dennis Paulson at his website
female
female
female
female
exuvia
exuvia

Twelve-spotted Skimmer Libellula pulchella...pg. 44
archaic name - ten spot

size: large, length 51 - 58 mm, wingspan 84 - 92 mm

male: 3 dark spots each wing, including tip, 3 white spots develop between them with age, middle dark spot does not touch trailing wing edge; brown abdomen develops thin bluish-white pruinosity with maturity; 2 yellow stripes thorax sides, top remains brown

female: brown abdomen with continuous straight yellow side stripe; wings have 3 dark spots, no white spots

similar species: compare male with
male Eight-spotted Skimmer which has clear wing-tips; 8-spot tends to perch more;
compare female to female Common Whitetail which has yellow dashed & angled stripe along abdomen side

habitat: ponds, lakes, rivers

California flight period: April - October

California distribution: most areas

California distribution map

Southwestern distribution map

Photos

male
male
male
male
male
teneral male
multiple images
images by Ray Bruun at his Flickr website
images by John Sterling at his website
images by Doug Aguillard at his website
multiple images at Orange County Odonata
multiple images at Mark Chappell's website
female
female
female
female
female
Scans
male
male
female
exuvia

Eight-spotted Skimmer Libellula forensis...pg. 45

size: medium/large, length 49 - 51 mm, wingspan 77 - 80 mm

male: wing tips clear, 2 dark spots each, outer spot forms “8”, extends leading to trailing edge, 3 white spots; 2 oval thorax side marks; abdomen and thorax top become blue pruinose

female: brown body; straight yellow side stripe dashed but not angled; wings like male's, may develop white spots ; 2 yellow spots topr of face

similar species: compare male with male
Twelve-spotted Skimmer which has dark wing-tips; tends to stay on wing more;
compare female with female Twelve-spotted Skimmer and female Common Whitetail which both have dark wing-tips and no white in the wings

habitat: ponds, lakes, ditches

California flight period: April - October

California distribution: all but southern Calif.

California distribution map

Southwestern distribution map

Photos

male
male
male
male
male
male - WA
immature male
images by John Sterling at his website
images by Ray Bruun at his Flickr website
mature female
pruinose mature female
immature female
Scans
male - CA
male - CA
male - CA
male - WV
male - WV
female - WV
female - WV

Chalk-fronted Corporal Ladona (formerly Libellula) julia ...46

size: medium, length 38 - 45 mm, wingspan 61 - 70 mm

male: thorax top has 2 chalky white stripes; first 4 abdominal segments become covered with chalky white pruinosity; rest of body, including head and eyes dark; wings clear - very small dark basal area

female: orangish to dark brown with a black stripe down the top of the abdomen; can become pruinose like male

habitat: slow mountain streams, mountain lakes

California flight period: June - August

California distribution: northern mountains

California distribution map

Southwestern distribution map

Photos

male
male
male
male
male
images by Doug Aguillard at his website
images by John Sterling at his website
image by Joshua Rose at his website
images by Ray bruun at his Flickr website
female
female
female
female
Scans
male
male
female
exuvia

Four-spotted Skimmer Libellula quadrimaculata...47

size: medium length 40 - 46 mm, wingspan 65 - 71 mm

male: tapered triangular olive-brown to orange-brown abdomen with dark tip, yellow dashes low on sides; hairy thorax, sides have pale marks; wings with small dark spots at nodus, leading edges sometimes orange, dark area at hind wing base

female: very similar to male

habitat: bogs, marshes, lakes, streams in mountain areas; acidic waters

California flight period: April - early October

California distribution: mountains

California distribution map

Southwestern distribution map

Family: EMERALDS - Corduliidae


pages 48-51
Field/photo key to Emeralds

Family: EMERALDS - Corduliidae

archaic name: Green-eyed Skimmers
3 CA genera including Baskettails, Common and Striped Emeralds, totaling 5 species
sizes: medium - with length of 42 - 55 mm
males: often dark having brilliant metallic tones; some have bodies that are patterned; all have brilliant emerald green or teal green eyes with abdomens that are expanded at the midpoint - spindle shaped
females: like the males except their bodies are more stout with a more even shape
habitats: wooded ponds and streams, usually in the mountains
behaviors: mass emergences early in season; perch by hanging; strong, fast and erratic flyers; sometimes difficult to find, scarce
distribution: found in the central and northern parts of the state, often at high altitudes
Baskettails - non-metallic colors; brown and yellow patterned; hairy thoraxes;
found at lower elevations than others; often fly at waist height along trails and paths in sunlit areas; 2 CA species
Common Emerald - dark with metallic green with divergent forked appendages; 1 CA species
Striped Emeralds - dark with metallic green; high flyers; long appendages pointed inwards; 2 CA species
nymph: hairy, dark colored

Photos

male
male
male
male
male
male
immature male
immature male
immature male
odd males
images by Ray Bruun at his Flickr website
images by Doug Aguillard at his website
images by Alan Wight at his website
female
female
female
exuvia
Scans
male
male
male
female

Beaverpond Baskettail Epitheca canis ...pg. 49

size: medium, length 43 - 51 mm, wingspan 62 - 65 mm

male: eyes teal-green, immature brown, contrast with dull brown flattened spindle shaped abdomen, yellow side spots; thorax hairy; clear wings.
appendages bent down at end

female: like male, body broader

similar species: identical to RARE Spiny Baskettail in the field which has straight appendages

behavior: often patrols along pathways at waist height in sunny patches, turning when it reaches a shady area;
female unrolls her 'basket' of eggs in strings, attaching them to floating vegetation

habitat: slow waters in lowland forests

California flight period: March - July

California distribution: central and northern Calif.

California distribution map

Southwestern distribution map

Photos

male
young male
young male - BC
tenerals emerging
female - OR
Scans
male - OR
male - OR
male by Dennis Paulson at his website
female by Dennis Paulson at his website

Spiny Baskettail Epitheca spinigera ...49 (mentioned)

size: medium, length 43 - 47 mm, wingspan 61 - 69 mm

male: green eyes contrast with dull brown and yellow patterned body; abdomen flattened and enlarged mid-length; thorax hairy; clear wings; flies at waist height; appendages straight with tiny downward tooth midway on underside of upper appendage
nymph/exuvia have distinctive long spines on seg. 9 that extend beyond the abdomen tip: exuvia can be used as voucher for distribution

female: like male, body broader

similar species: identical to Beaverpond Baskettail in the field which has bend appendages (see links above)
usually appears somewhat darker than Beaverpond Baskettail

habitat: slow waters in mountain forests

California flight period: June - July

California distribution: RARE: Donner Lake in Lassen Co. & Blue Lake in Lassen Co.

California distribution map

Southwestern distribution map

Photos

male
male
male
male
male close-up
immature male
images by Doug Aguillard at his website
images by Ray Bruun at his Flickr website
female by Joshua Rose at his website
female
female
female
female
female
female
Scans
male
male
male
male
male
pair
female
female, side view

American Emerald Cordulia shurtleffii...pg. 50

sizes: medium length 42 - 50 mm, wingspan 62 - 66 mm

male: beautiful emerald green eyes; dark hairy thorax with green metallic tones; abdomen enlarged mid-length with single thin white ring between segments 2 & 3; appendages splayed

female: like male; body cylindrical, cerci 2 mm or less

similar species: Mountain Emerald has 'pincher-shaped' appendages; Ringed Emerald has a white ring on each segment,
female Mountain Emerald almost identical in the field; compare in-hand by cerci length

behavior:
mass emergences

habitat: wooded ponds, bogs

California flight period: late May - September

California distribution: northern mountains

California distribution map

Southwestern distribution map

Photos

male
male - OR
male - in flight
male - in flight
images by Ray Bruun at his Flickr website
images by John Sterling at his website
female by Dave Czaplak - CO
Scans
male, top view
male
male
male
male
male
male
male
female, side view
female, top view
female, side view

Mountain Emerald Somatochlora semicirularis...pg. 51

size: medium/large, length 48 - 55 mm, wingspan 64 - 70 mm

male: beautiful emerald green eyes; dark hairy thorax, sides have two yellow markings within metallic green area; dark abdomen enlarged at mid-length, may show yellow spots on sides of segment 5-8; appendages point inwards, pincher-like

female: similar to male; broader abdomen; cerci 3 mm or more

similar species: American Emerald has appendages are splayed; Ringed Emerald has a white ring on each segment,
female American Emerald almost identical in the field; compare in-hand by cerci length.

habitat: ponds, sedge meadows with small streams

California flight period: June - August

California distribution: northern mountains)

California distribution map

Southwestern distribution map


Photos

male - OR
male's appendages - OR
male's abdomen - OR
male's face - OR
teneral male
male in flight
images by Ray Bruun at his Flickr website
Scans
male
male
male
male
male
male
exuvia
female by Dennis Paulson at his website - WA

Ringed Emerald Somatochlora albicincta...pg. 50 (mentioned)

size: medium length 45 - 50 mm, wingspan 62 - 67 mm

male: Similar to Mt. Emerald but has narrow incomplete white ring on each segment

female: similar to male; broader, more cylindrical abdomen

habitat: lakes ponds or streams with sparse emergent vegetation and forested margins

California flight period: June - August

California distribution: RARE: northern CA

California distribution map

Southwestern distribution map

Family: DARNERS - Aeshnidae


pages 52-61


Field/Photo key to Darners

Field key(p.8) & info at Royal Museum, BC - pdf

Family: DARNERS - Aeshnidae

4 CA genera, including 11 species:
sizes: large, robust; fast; lengths: 56 - 111 mm
males: large eyes, bodies brilliant blue and/or green with brown
females: many color forms, most showing green and/or yellow instead of blue, with a background of brown and/or purple, others like male, ovipositor under tail base
habitats: breed in lakes, creeks, rivers; feed over fields
behaviors: usually seen in flight; patrol waterways but also often seen catching insects over fields; perch by hanging vertically; most solo oviposit into floating vegetation; some swarm; some migrate; blue coloration darkens when cool
distribution: found throughout the state, at all altitudes
Green Darners Anax - robust, large green eyes meet in center, forms a seam, thorax solid green, abdomen more solidly colored, wings mostly clear but may be yellow-tinged, some are migratory - 2 CA species
Mosaic Darners, Aeshna* - large blue eyes meet in the center, form a seam, mosaic patterned abdomen, difficult to distinguish to species without catching them (in net or digitally) - 4 CA species:
*Research in 2003 split the genus Aeshna
Neotropical/Blue-eyed Darners, Rhionaeschna* - like Mosaic Darners, but having a small bump under the 1st segment - 3 CA species Riffle Darners Oplonaeschna - RARE - very similar to Mosaic darners; top of segment 10 has a fingerlike projection - 1 CA species
nymph - long and slender, crawl about on underwater vegetation

Photos
female Darner and exuvia
The exuvia is the exoskeleton left behind
when a darner nymph metamorphoses into a flier.

How to Identify Female Darners...pg. 53

example: female Blue-eyed Darner Rhionaeschna multicolor - non-male-like color form

female Darners have only 2 appendages; each species has several color forms; use color of the line across face, presence (Rhionaeschna) or lack (Aeshna) of a small bump under first segment, the presence or lack of paired blue spots on abdomen underside, the presence and/or shape of thoracic top and side stripes, and the ovipositor length. Use of an identification key is often necessary.

Photos

male side view
male top view
male side view
male side view
immature male
appendages
male in flight
images by Ray Bruun at his Flickr website
images by Doug Aguillard at his website
images by John Sterling at his website
images by Don Roberson at his Monterey website
images at Odonata of Orange County
images by Mark Chappell at his website
female, non-male like form
male-colored female
blue-green female
young female
pair in wheel
Scans
male
male
male
male
male
male
green colored female
exuvia

Blue-eyed Darner Rhionaeschna multicolor ...pg. 54
archaic name - common blue darner

size: large, length 61 - 71 mm, wingspan 86 - 100 mm

male:
bright blue eyes and face; brown line across face; broad blue stripes on thorax sides and top are uniform in width; abdomen appears almost all blue when in flight, but is a mosaic of blue, black and copper; appendages forked, appear wrench shaped when seen from side; spots atop segment 10 are paler than others and widely separated; bump under 1st segment; 3 cells in hindwing anal triangle

female: facial line pale brown; bump under first segment; see key

habitat: ponds, lakes, slow streams

California flight period: March - January

California distribution: common statewide

California distribution map

Southwestern distribution map

Photos

male top view
male side view
male top view
male side view
male
male
male
male
appendages
images by Doug Aguillard at his website
images by John Sterling at his website
images by Ray Bruun at his Flickr website
images by Don Roberson at his Monterey website
female
pair in cop
female ovipositing @ Kathy Biggs' pond site
Scans
male
male
males
male
immature male
pair
male-colored female
female
emerging nymph
exuvia

California Darner Rhionaeschna californica ...pg. 55

size: large, length 56 - 60 mm, wingspan 75 - 83 mm

male: small for family; sky blue eyes and spots, immature grayer; face pale blue with black line; thorax has thin pale blue side stripes which curve slightly backwards, usually no stripe on top; appendages simple, without spine; spots atop segment 10 closer together than on 9; bump under 1st segment; 3 cells in hindwing anal triangle

female: facial line black; bump under first segment; see key

habitat: ponds, lakes, slow streams

California flight period: February - August; most often seen early in the season

California distribution: most areas

California distribution map

Southwestern distribution map

Photos

male
male
male & female - TX
Scans
male - TX
female - TX

Turquoise-tipped Darner Rhionaeschna psilus ...checklist

size: large, length 58 - 60 mm, wingspan 74 - 84 mm

male: small and dark for a darner; bluish eyes (brown when immature) and blue face with only a faint colored line across; long, wide green or blue stripes on sides and top of thorax are wavy and uneven; anal hind wing triangle - 3 cells; spots on abdomen small and green colored except for blue on segment 2 & usually 10; pale blue color on underside of segments 9 & 10 is diagnostic; bump under 1st segment; appendages simple, without a true spine

female: thorax similarly marking to male; bump under first segment; spots on abdomen small and green colored; long appendages

habitat: elsewhere ponds, ditches and sluggish streams

California flight period: found once in September

California distribution: RARE: Orange Co.; report and document all encounters

California distribution map

Southwestern distribution map

Photos

male top view
male
male side view
images by Dave Biggs
male flying
male flying
male flying
male flying
appendages
images by Ray Bruun at his Flickr site
images by John Sterling at his website
images by Don Roberson at his Monterey website
images by Doug Aguillard at his website
photo by Tom Murray at his website
female
female
female ovipositing
pair in wheel
Scans
male
male
male
male
female
female

Paddle-tailed Darner Aeshna palmata...pg. 56

size: very large, length 63 - 75 mm, wingspan 82 - 99 mm

male: face, top and side thoracic stripes greenish; black line across face; clear wings; blue spots on top of 9th and 10th abdominal segments usually fused; many small spots; underside of abdomen dark; 3 cells in HW anal triangle; flared paddle-shaped appendages with small spine

Comparison shot between male Paddle-tailed and Shadow Darners
female: facial line black; no bump under first segment; terminal appendages widest at central point; styli of ovipositor extend beyond the last segment; see key

habitat: ponds, lakes, small streams

California flight period: May - November

California distribution: all forested areas in mountains

California distribution map

Southwestern distribution map

Photos

male
male
2 males
male
male top view
male side view
male
male
male
appendages
images by Doug Aguillard at his website
images by Ray Bruun at his Flickr website
images by John Sterling at his website
female
female
female
female
female
female ovipositing
Scans
male
male
male
male
male
male
male
male
female, green form
female, blue form
female
female
female - OR

Variable Darner Aeshna interrupta...pg. 57

size: very large, length 62 - 77 mm, wingspan 89 - 102 mm

male: dark; thorax side stripes interrupted or very narrow; top stripes very narrow or missing; dark blue eyes; face pale greenish yellow with black line; abdominal spots sky-blue, very small spots on segment 10 more widely separated than on 9, no spots underside; HW anal triangle has 2 cells; appendages lack spine

female: facial line black; no bump under first segment; see key

habitat: mountain lakes, ponds, bogs

California flight period: May - October

California distribution: mountains

California distribution map

Southwestern distribution map

Photos

male top view
male side view
male top view
male side view
male side view
male side view
male close-up
appendages
images by Doug Aguillard at his website
images by Don Roberson at his Monterey website
mulitple female images
mulitple female images
female
female ovipositing
Scans
male
male
male
male
male
male
female

Walker's Darner Aeshna walkeri...pg. 58

size: very large, length 65 - 77 mm, wingspan 86 - 100 mm

male: face and thoracic stripes nearly white; clear wings, black veins and stigma; abdomen spots large, fewer small spots than other Aeshna; no (or VERY tiny) spots atop segment 10, those on segment 9 fused; no blue spots underside; flared paddle-shaped appendages with small spine; 3 cells HW anal triangle;

female: thin, dark facial line; no bump; jet black stigma; pale spots s9 widely separated, tiny spots s10

habitat: mostly creeks and streams

California flight period: May - November; mostly flies late in season

California distribution: along moving water

California distribution map

Southwestern distribution map

Photos

male
male in flight
male side view
male side view
immature male
appendages
multiple views
images by Ray Bruun at his Flickr website
female
multipile views female
Scans
male top view
male side view
male multiple views
male
male top & side views
male underside
male face
male back of head

Shadow Darner Aeshna umbrosa...pg. 59

size: very large, length 66 - 78 mm, wingspan 86 - 100 mm

male: sometimes appears darker, showing less blue than other Mosaic Darners or as blue as most; frontal thoracic stripe green; straight side stripes are green to blue, with a rearward extenstion at the top; paired pale blue spots underside of abdomen; no blue spots top of segment 10; appendages paddle-shaped with small spine; 3 cells in hw anal triangle

Comparison shot between male Shadow and Paddle-tailed Darners
female: chocolate brown; no bump; pale spots underside

habitat: often flies in the shade

California flight period: July - late November; flies late in the season (once found in CA in Feb!)

California distribution: central and northern Calif.

California distribution map

Southwestern distribution map

Photos

male
male
male
male underside
appendages
appendages
male, in hand - WA
Scans
male
male
female
teneral female - CA
female - BC

Canada Darner Aeshna canadensis ...checklist

size: large, length 64 - 73 mm, wingspan 86 - 99 mm

male: thorax side stripes relatively broad; front stripe deeply indented upper half, green, yellow &/or blue; lt. brown facial line;
underside of abdomen has paired pale spots; top of last segment has pale spots; anal triangle hind wing - 2 cells; appendages paddle-shaped

female: facial line light brown; no bump under segment 1;
paired spots underside of abdomen
habitat: ponds, lakes, especially beaver ponds

California flight period: August - October

California distribution: RARE: northern mountains

California distribution map

Southwestern distribution map

Photos

male side view - AZ
male side view - AZ
appendages - AZ
images at AZ Odes - AZ
images by Martin Reid - AZ
female ovipositing - AZ
Scans
male - USA
female

Riffle Darner Oplonaeschna armata...checklist

size: very large, length 66 - 75 mm, wingspan 92 - 110 mm

male: very similar to Mosaic darners; deep blue eyes; strongly indented side thoracic stripes blue above, yellow below; abdomen spots a bit smaller than on Mosaic darners; appendages paddle-shaped with spine & a toothed projection near tip; top of segment 10 has a fingerlike projection

female: short; yellow, blue &/or green spots; no bump

habitat: rocky streams in oak & pine woodlands

California flight period: June

California distribution: RARE: found once Inyo Co.

no California distribution map


Southwestern distribution map

Photos

male
images by Doug Aguillard at his website
images by Ray Bruun at his Flickr website
images by Bob Miller at his website
images by Don Roberson at his Monterey website
images at Odonata of Orange County
images by Mark Chappell at his website
male eating a flame skimmer
immature male
female
female
female
female
female
female emerging
pairs ovipositing
female solo ovipositing
nymph
exuvia
Scans
male
immature male side
immature male top
female
female
female
nymph
exuvia
exuvia Common vs Giant exuvia

Common Green Darner Anax junius...pg. 70

size: very large, 63 - 84 mm, wingspan 92 - 103 mm

male: more solidly colored than Mosaic Darners; green eyes and yellow-green face;
'bullseye shaped mark top of face; solid green thorax; electric blue abdomen with wide dark stripe on top; wings can be clear or show yellowish tinge

female: most are purplish brown with green; rarer form colored like male (however s2 isn't all green); eyes remain brown with back border yellow; wings often yellowish tinged

behavior: abdomen carried straight in flight; swarm; migrate

habitat: fields and waterways

California flight period: all months in the south, migratory

California distribution: common statewide

California distribution map

Southwestern distribution map

Photos

male side view
male top view
male side view
male top view
male close-up
male top view
male side view
male side view
male
male
male face
male underside
male
male in flight
male in flight
male in flight
multiple photos
images by Doug Aguillard at his website
image by Dennis Paulson at his website
images by Don Roberson at his Monterey website
female
female
female ovipositing
females ovipositing
female ovipositing
female ovipositing
female ovipositing
Scans
male
male
female
exuvia
Common vs Giant exuvia

Giant Darner Anax walsinghami...pg. 71
archaic name - walsingham's darner

size: huge, male 99 - 111 mm, wingspan 115 - 135 mm

male: largest dragonfly in North America; coloring like Common Green Darner but very long thin blue and dark patterned abdomen; solid green thorax; eyes blue on top, yellow rimmed

female: like male; smaller but still very long narrow abdomen, 88 - 99 mm, wingspan 112 -122 mm; less blue

behavior: abdomen carried arched in flight

similar species: Common Green Darner caries abdomen straingt in flight; eyes green

habitat: canyon and spring-fed streams, marshes, lakes in arid areas

California flight period: April - September

California distribution: sporadic in arid areas

California distribution map

Southwestern distribution map

Family: CLUBTAILS - Gomphidae


pages 62-71

Field/Photo key to clubtails

An interesting exuviae pileup!

Family: CLUBTAILS - Gomphidae

6 CA genera totaling 12 species including the Ringtails, Snaketails, Hanging Clubtails, and others
sizes: large, lengths: 41 - 83 mm
males: most have an enlarged area at end of abdomen; black, brown, green and/or yellow patterned; clear wings with wide stigmas; small eyes widely separated; sprawling legs; well camouflaged, snakelike patterning, no blue or red coloring
females: often yellow where male green; bodies cylindrical
habitats: rivers, streams
behaviors: males perch on ground/rocks at beach in sunlit areas;females more often found out on vegetation
distribution: statewide
Common Clubtails Gomphus - some occur at ponds and lakes - 1 CA species
Hanging Clubtails Stylurus - narrow pale triangles down top of black/brown abdomen; hang perch; most in arid lands - 3 CA species
Grappletail Octogomphus - abdomen thin & less patterned than others - 1 CA species
Ringtails Erpetogomphus - ringed appearance to abdomen; short legs - 2 CA species
Sanddragons Progomphus - narrow clubbed abdomen; short legs - 1 CA species
Snaketails Ophiogomphus - very similar with snakelike patterning; most in arid lands - 4 CA species
nymph usually have a life cycle of 2+ years; hide under gravel/sand in riverbeds

Photos

male
male
male
male
male
male
male
immature male
multiple images unusual male
images by Ray Bruun at his Flickr website
images by Doug Aguillard at his website
female
female
female
female
female
Scans
mature male
male - OR
male - OR
female
female

Grappletail Octogomphus specularis...pg. 63

size: large, length 49 - 53 mm, wingspan 60 - 72 mm

male: face yellow, eyes dark green-gray; thorax top had a large bold gray- green/yellow urn shaped mark; very thin almost all black abdomen showing less yellow than any other CA clubtail; black legs and stigma; appendages multi-pronged, mostly yellow, grapple-like

female: thin yellow line top of cylindrical abdomen

habitat: rivers with riffles in wooded hillsides

California flight period: April - October

California distribution: all but eastern Calif.

California distribution map

Southwestern distribution map

Photos

male
male
male
male
male
male
male
male
male
male
images by Ray Bruun at his Flickr website
images by Bob Miller at his website
images by Doug Aguillard at his website
images by John Sterling at his website
images by Don Roberson at his Monterey website
female
female
female
female
pair in wheel
Scans
male
male
male
male
female
female
female
pair
exuvia - OR

White-belted Ringtail Erpetogomphus compositus...pg. 64

size: medium/large, length 46 - 55 mm, wingspan 61 - 70 mm

male: thorax intricately marked green, yellow, black with the middle side stripe being the "white belt"; conspicuous pale rings on thin dark abdomen, pale diamonds less noticeable; dark yellow club looks as if dipped in golden paint; pale blue eyes; face pale; yellow costa; looks like composite of several other species

female: no club; white belt

habitat: streams, rivers

California flight period: April - October

California distribution: all but far northern Calif.

California distribution map

Southwestern distribution map

Photos

male
male
male
male
female
female
female
images by Doug Aguillard at his website
images by John Sterling at his website
image by Dennis Paulson at his website
Scans
male
female

Serpent Ringtail Erpetogomphus lampropeltis...pg. 65

size: medium/large, length 41 - 56 mm, wingspan 62 - 72 mm

male: dark abdomen with thin pale rings, clubbed-tail dark on top, yellow below, pale yellow appendages; thorax has gray stripes on the top and sides, side stripe interrupted, no white stripe; blue eyes.

female: like male; no club

habitat: streams, rivers

California flight period: June - October

California distribution: southern Calif; uncommon

California distribution map

Southwestern distribution map

Photos

male
male
male
male
male
male
male
male
male
male
images by Ray Bruun at his Flickr website
images by Doug Aguillard at his website
images by Don Roberson at his Monterey website
images by Mark Chappell at his website
female
female
female
female
female
pair in cop
male's hold on female's eyes
Scans
male
female

Gray Sanddragon Progomphus borealis...pg. 66

size: large, length 56 - 61 mm, wingspan 68 - 72 mm

male: yellow face, gray eyes; thorax sides have large gray patches; dull pale yellow triangles top of very thin black abdomen; costa yellow; upper appendages yellow, lowers dark

female: more gray/green; more cylindrical abdomen, no club

behavior: perch on sandy shoreline or rocks with arched abdomen when

habitat: sandy rivers, lakes

California flight period: April - October

California distribution: widespread

California distribution map

Southwestern distribution map

Photos

male
male
male
male
male
male
male
in flight
images by Ray Bruun at his Flickr website
images by Doug Aguillard at his website
female
female
female
female
teneral female
exuvia
Scans
male by Dennis Paulson at his website
female by Dennis Paulson at his website

Olive Clubtail Stylurus olivaceus...pg. 67

size: large, length 56 - 60 mm, wingspan 74 - 78 mm

male: thorax sides tawny gray/olive green with wavy dark shoulder stripes, top has tawny treelike mark on black; abdomen segments dark with thin tawny markings broadly outlined in black; underside of large club is pale yellow with the top mostly black; appendages black; wings with yellow costa, black veins

female: like male; body long, clubless

behavior: hang perches, males often on twigs along steep muddy river bank; female on close-by vegetation

habitat: warm, muddy rivers or ponds

California flight period: June - September

California distribution: many areas, but uncommon

California distribution map

Southwestern distribution map

Photos

male
male
male
female
female
female
female
images by Doug Aguillard at his website
images by Ray Bruun at his Flickr website
images by Bob Miller at his website
images by John Sterling at his website
Scans
male
male
female
female

Russet-tipped Clubtail Stylurus plagiatus...checklist

size: large, length 53 - 66 mm, wingspan 74 - 83 mm

males: green thorax and upper legs; 3 dark stripes thorax side; thorax top dark with pale harp shaped mark; elongated triangles atop abdomen with a ring atop each which is incomplete; blue eyes; abdominal segments 7 - 10 have yellow bands on sides; abdominal segments 8 & 9 clubbed yellow & brown or black, segment 10 all dark; appendages dark and flared when seen from above

females: is similar to male; dark atop 9 & 10

similar species: White-belted and Serpent Ringtails have yellow appendages

habitat: deep sandy streams, rivers and irrigation ditches in arid regions

California flight period: June - October

California distribution: RARE: south eastern Calif.

California distribution map

Southwestern distribution map

Photos

male
male
male
male - AZ
images by Doug Aguillard at his website
images by Bob Miller at his website
images by John Sterling at his website
female
female
pairCA
female - AZ
Scans
male
female

Brimstone Clubtail Stylurus intricatus...checklist

size: medium/large, length 41 - 55 mm, wingspan 55 - 64 mm

male: very pale; yellow rings & triangular spots with dark background along abdomen, rings around segments 3-7 only, yellow club has splayed yellow appendages edged with black; yellow head; upper legs yellow; hang-perches on wood, vegetation, not rocks along shoreline

female: similar to male but clubless

habitat: open desert streams/rivers

California flight period: June - October

California distribution: RARE: southeastern Calif.

California distribution map

Southwestern distribution map

Photos

male
male
male
male
male
male
male
male
male
male
immature male
images by Doug Aguillard at his website
images by Ray Bruun at his Flickr website
image by Dennis Paulson at his website
images by John Sterling at his website
images by Jim Johnson at his website
images by Don Roberson at his Monterey website
female
female
female
female
female
pair in wheel
Scans
male
male
male
male
female
exuvia


Pacific Clubtail Gomphus kurilis
...pg. 68

size: medium, 48-53 mm, wingspan 60 - 70 mm

male: thorax sides have a gray-green pistol-shaped mark (yellow in immatures); 2 broad green stripes top of thorax come to a curved point near abdomen; thin yellow/green triangular marks atop abdomen, large yellow marks undersides of expanded 8th and 9th segments, top of segment 10 (and often 9) are DARK; legs and appendages DARK; green face with blue eyes when mature

female: less clubbed, more cylindrical and stout; yellow where male is green

similar species: Bison Snaketail not found on ponds and is
yellow atop segment 10 and has top of appendages yellow

behavior: perch on rocks in water at pond side

habitat: only CA Clubtail found at lakes and ponds; also sluggish streams in valleys; a subspecies occurs at clear mountain lakes;

California flight period: March - August (however mostly a Spring/early Summer species)

California distribution: CA endemic; central and northern areas

California distribution map

Southwestern distribution map


In Oregon there is the similar Columbia Clubtail Gomphus lynnae
It develops a thin pruinosity over its thorax.

Photos

male
male
male
male
male
male
male
male
male
male
images by Ray Bruun at his Flickr website
images by Doug Aguillard at his website
image by Dennis Paulson at his website
images by Don Roberson at his Monterey website
female
female
Scans
male - top
male - side
male
female
female
female

Bison Snaketail Ophiogomphus bison...pg. 69

size: medium, length 50 - 51 mm, wingspan 60 - 71 mm

male: thorax bright green with single wide straight dark shoulder stripe (can show very thin green line in middle); yellow-green face; black legs; gray-blue eyes; abdomen black with yellow triangles, including atop segments 9 and 10; appendages yellow on top

female: body more cylindrical, less clubbed; small (bison-like) horns above eyes
(male lacks these 'horns')

similar species: Pacific Clubtail is usually found on ponds and is black atop segment 10 and has black appendages; three other very similar Snaketails occur in California; compare by shoulder stripe width and shape and of appendages

behavior: forages from the shoreline

habitat: lowland trout streams

California flight period: April - October

California distribution: northern and central Calif.

California distribution map

Southwestern distribution map

Photos

male
male
male
male
males
images by Ray Bruun at his Flickr website
female
female
female - WA
Scans
male
male
female
female

Sinuous Snaketail Ophiogomphus occidentis...pg. 70

size: medium/large, length 47 - 51 mm, wingspan 58 - 67 mm

male: yellow-green face with blue-gray eyes; sides of thorax dull olive green with double, dark wavy (sinuous) lines; yellow triangles along abdomen top; club yellow under segments 8-10
female: body more cylindrical; less clubbed

similar species: four very similar Snaketails occur in California; compare by shoulder stripe width and shape and by appendages

habitat: mountain rivers; lakes

California flight period: March - August

California distribution: central and northern Calif.

California distribution map

Southwestern distribution map

Photos

male
male
male
male
male - OR
pair in cop
images by Ray Bruun at his Flickr website
images by John Sterling at his website
female
female
female
female
female - OR
Scans
male
male
male
male
male
male
male - OR
male - OR
scans by Dennis Paulson at his website
female - OR

Great Basin Snaketail Ophiogomphus morrisoni...pg. 71

size: medium, length 50 - 52 mm, wingspan 60 - 65 mm

male: golden green thorax; pale shoulder stripe curved (but not wavy), connected to top pale stripe which is wide and flares near the head, looking somewhat like a pollywog; abdomen has yellow triangles along the top and yellow under clubbed segments; blue eyes; stout yellow appendages, the lowers are the longest

female: body more cylindrical, less clubbed, stout

similar species: four very similar Snaketails occur in California; compare by shoulder stripe width and shape and by appendages

habitat: streams in arid lands

California flight period: May - August

California distribution: eastern mountains

California distribution map

Southwestern distribution map

Photos

male - CO
male - ID
male
male
images by Ray Bruun at his Flickr website
images by Doug Aguillard at his website
images by John Sterling at his website
Scans
male
male
male
female
female

Pale Snaketail Ophiogomphus severus ...checklist

size: medium, length 48 - 55 mm, wingspan 67 - 72 mm

male: very pale coloration; green thorax, black shoulder stripe often completely missing; variable oval spots sides of thorax top; identify by location and appendages, the lower appendages are 75% the length of the uppers

female: body less clubbed; stout

habitat: pools of rocky mountain streams

California flight period: May - August

California distribution: Modoc County

California distribution map

Southwestern distribution map

MIXED FAMILIES:
Black and Yellow coloration


pages 72-75

Field/photo key to black & yellow mixed families dragonflies

MIXED FAMILIES - Black and Yellow coloration

3 CA families, each with one species, totaling 3 species:
sizes: large; lengths: 54 - 85 mm
males: members of these families & genera have dark background color with yellow markings on the thorax and abdomen; compare by markings, eye shape and color, and by appendage shapes
females: marked like the males but bodies more stout
habitats: life cycle of 2+ years in rivers, streams, seeps
behaviors: Petaltail flight weak, others very strong fliers
distribution: Petaltails in north; others almost statewide
Petaltail Petaluridae - dark eyes do not touch; spots (not stripes) on thorax & abdomen; long stigma; petal-like appendages; nymph semi terrestrial, burrows in seeps - 1 CA species (uncommon)
Cruisers Macromiidae - gray eyes just touch each other; single yellow stripe thorax side; long legs; body arched in powerful flight - 1 CA species
Spiketails Cordulegasteridae - teardrop shaped blue eyes barely touch each other; thorax - two wide yellow stripes top and each side - 1 CA species (2 races)

Photos

male
male
male
male
male
images by Ray Bruun at his Flickr website
images by Doug Aguillard at his website
images by John Sterling at his website
images by Alan Wight at his website
female
female
female
female, eating an American Emerald!
live nymphin burrow
nymph
photos and info
exuvia
Scans
male
male
male
male
male
male
male
male
female
nymph
exuviae

Black Petaltail Tanypteryx hageni ...pg. 73

size: large, length 54 - 61 mm, wingspan 70 - 76

male: dark eyes do not touch; black thorax has
spots (not stripes); black abdomen with variable yellow marks atop segments 2-7; flared, petal-like, appendages; long stigma;

female: similar to male but body broader and often showing more yellow

habitat: seeps; often associated with serpentine soils and the carnivorous Pitcher Plants (Darlingtonia)

behavior: weak flier; perch by 'clinging;' known to perch on people!
nymph are semi terrestrial building burrows in seeps

California flight period: May - August

California distribution: northern hills and mountains (rare)

California distribution map

Southwestern distribution map

Photos

male
male
male
male
immature male
photo by Tom Murray at his website
images by Ray Bruun at his Flickr website
images by Doug Aguillard at his website
images by John Sterling at his website
images by Don Roberson at his Monterey website
pair in wheel
female
female
female
female
female
female
female
female ovipositing
female ovipositing
female ovipositing
female ovipositing
Scans
male
male
male
female
exuvia


Desert Race
*male C. d. deserticola male
*male C. d. deserticola male
*male C. d. deserticola male (in town of Bishop)
*male by Dennis Paulson at his website C. d. deserticola
Scans
*male, desert race

Pacific Spiketail Cordulegaster dorsalis dorsalis...pg. 88
archaic name - yellow-backed biddie

size: very large, length 70 - 85 mm, wingspan 88 - 105

male: pale face; beautiful tear-drop shaped blue eyes barely touch; dark thorax with two wide yellow stripes on the top and on the sides; abdomen dark with yellow spots on segments 2- 9

female: like male with thicker body; long spike like ovipositor; dark wing tips

behavior: powerful flyer; both sexes hang-perch; females oviposit into mud at streamsides in a sewing machine-like vertical up and down movement (often in shady area)

habitat: hillside small wooded streams

California flight period: May - October

California distribution: all foothills, *eastern mountains

California distribution map

Southwestern distribution map


Desert Race
* C. d. deserticola (desert race) shows more yellow - thin yellow lines between spots
comparitive scans

California flight period: June 21 - August 27

California distribution: *eastern - Owens Valley area
C. d. deserticola (desert race) Eastern CA, *NV, *UT?

Photos

male
male
male
male
male
male
male
images by Ray Bruun at his Flickr website
images by Don Roberson at his Monterey website
images by John Sterling at his website
female
female
female
pair
Scans
male
male
male
male
female
female

Western River Cruiser Macromia magnifica ...pg. 75

size: very large, length 68 - 74 mm, wingspan 88 - 100

male: pale face; pearly gray eyes touch each other; dark thorax has single yellow side stripe and only a half-length stripe on top; slightly clubbed abdomen has squared yellow spots on top, the spot on segment 8 is the largest; very long legs

female: like male, not clubbed

nymph: sprawlers; 'spider-like'

exuvia: often found under bridge supports

habitat: lowlands streams and rivers

California flight period: April - September

California distribution: all but the southern part of the state

California distribution map

Southwestern distribution map


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Kathy Biggs, Azalea Creek Publishing
Kathy Biggs
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