Red Saddlebags (Tramea onusta)
Detailing the identifying qualities of the Red Saddlebags, including physical features and territorial reach.
Updated: 1/30/2017; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ©www.InsectIdentification.org
The fiery red patches on the hindwings of the Red Saddlebags, fast-flying Skimmer, are flashy and bright, making it easier to spot.
Skimmers are a group of dragonfly that are commonly found across the continent. They come in a variety of colors. Red Saddlebags skimmers have roundish red patches of color on their transparent wings. The placement and shape of these patches resemble saddlebags carried by horses or mules. Males have a red body (abdomen) while females have an orange-brown body. Males are territorial and fly the perimeter to check boundaries for infringement.
Like most skimmers, they circulate near slow-moving water: ponds, creeks, small streams, lagoons and lakes. Females lay fertilized eggs in the water. The hatchlings look very different from their adult form and are called naiads. They eat insects and other aquatic animals until they are ready to molt into their winged adult form. Adults are most active from late spring to mid-autumn. Warmer climates will see longer spans of activity than colder ones.