Image Credit: Rudy P. taken in Duke Gardens, Durham, NC
Slaty Skimmers are dragonflies that find themselves at home in virtually any type of habitat, which means they are observed more often than their specialized relatives.
Slaty Skimmers vary in appearance by gender. Males are a powdery light blue and juvenile females are a dark brown/black with wide yellow bands along the length of the abdomen. As females mature, they also become blue. Females mate with males near water and flick their fertilized eggs near the banks, or edges, of the water. Larvae (called naiads) remain underwater, feeding on aquatic insects. They look like mini crustaceans in this life stage. When ready, they crawl onto land, molt and become winged adults.
Slaty Skimmers can easily be mistaken for Bar-Winged, Great Blue, and Gray-waisted Skimmers. Bar-winged Skimmers have more dark lines at the front edge of their wings. Great Blue Skimmers have darker spots at the nodus (middle) of the forewings and bright, white faces. Gray-waisted Skimmers have narrower hindwings. Slaty Skimmers are comfortable in most environments, so they are common across the entire continent. Other members of the Libellula genus prefer niche habitats and are less commonly observed. Look for Slaty Skimmers around any water source: springs, creeks, swamps, marshes, lagoons, etc. Flooded areas are also good conditions for temporarily expanded territories. Look for them throughout the summer months in sunny areas.
Scientific Name: Libellula incesta
Dragonfly or Damselfly
Size (Adult; Length): 45mm to 57mm (1.76in to 2.22in)
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