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Black Saddlebags Skimmer (Tramea lacerata)

Detailing the identifying qualities of the Black Saddlebags Skimmer, including physical features and territorial reach.

 Updated: 2/5/2018; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ¬©

  Black Saddlebags Skimmer  
Picture of Black-Saddlebags-Skimmer
Picture of Black-Saddlebags-Skimmer Picture of Black-Saddlebags-SkimmerPicture of Black-Saddlebags-SkimmerPicture of Black-Saddlebags-SkimmerPicture of Black-Saddlebags-SkimmerPicture of Black-Saddlebags-Skimmer

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.

Picture of the Black Saddlebags Skimmer
Picture of the Black Saddlebags Skimmer

Black Saddlebags Skimmer Information

Category: Dragonfly or Damselfly
Common Name: Black Saddlebags Skimmer
Scientific Name: Tramea lacerata
Other Name(s): Jagged-edged Saddlebag

Taxonomy Hierarchy

 Arrow graphic Kingdom: Animalia
  Arrow graphic Phylum: Arthropoda
   Arrow graphic Class: Insecta
    Arrow graphic Order: Odonata
     Arrow graphic Family: Libellulidae
      Arrow graphic Genus: Tramea
       Arrow graphic Species: lacerata

Size, Identifying Tags and Territorial Reach

Size (Adult, Length): Size (Adult, Length): 45 mm to 55 mm (1.755 inches to 2.145 inches)
Identifying Colors: black; yellow; green; brown
Additional Descriptors: dragonfly, flying, four, blotch, ink, marks, wings

North American Territorial Reach (Though Not Limited To): Alabama; Alaska; Arizona; Arkansas; California; Colorado; Connecticut; Delaware; Florida; Georgia; Hawaii; Idaho; Illinois; Indiana; Iowa; Kansas; Kentucky; Louisiana; Maine; Maryland; Massachusetts; Michigan; Minnesota; Mississippi; Missouri; Montana; Nebraska; Nevada; New Hampshire; New Jersey; New Mexico; New York; North Carolina; North Dakota; Ohio; Oklahoma; Oregon; Pennsylvania; Rhode Island; South Carolina; South Dakota; Tennessee; Texas; Utah; Vermont; Virginia; Washington; West Virginia; Wisconsin; Wyoming; Alberta; Manitoba; New Brunswick; Newfoundland and Labrador; Nova Scotia; Ontario; Prince Edward Island; Quebec; Saskatchewan; Mexico

A Note About Territorial Reach: Keep in mind that an insect's reach is not limited by lines drawn on a map and therefore species may appear in areas, regions and/or states beyond those listed above. Insects are driven by environmental factors, food supplies and mating patterns and do not nescessarily work within hard-and-fast territorial lines like we humans do.

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