The Black Saddlebags dragonfly only looks like it is carrying a big load, but this advanced flier definitely travels light.
The Black Saddlebags is a type of dragonfly known as a skimmer. Their bodies are shorter than their wingspan. The Black Saddlebags skimmer has a large black blotch on each wing near the body. It is shaped like the leather sack seen on horses and mules carrying loads. Huge reddish eyes are positioned in the front of the head. Black Saddlebags are quite agile fliers. Males alternate their flying patterns between gliding and flapping wings. Adults may swarm together, and among other dragonfly species as well, in order to attack insect prey. They migrate to warmer areas in the fall.
Females lay eggs on the water. Juveniles are called naiads and they live underwater during this stage of life. They eat small aquatic insects since they are limited by their environment. They may try to climb up vegetation that is protruding from the water's surface. Naiads are green with bits of brown coloring on them. They look more like a tiny lobster than a dragonfly. They prefer warm, shallow waters during this life stage. When ready, they will crawl onto land and molt into their winged adult form. Adults can be found near lakes, ponds and slow-moving streams. They prefer areas that are quiet. In warmer climates, two generations of this species can be born a year; in colder climates, only one.
Scientific Name: Tramea lacerata
Other Name(s): Jagged-edged Saddlebag
Dragonfly or Damselfly
Size (Adult; Length): 45mm to 55mm (1.76in to 2.15in)
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