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Slaty Skimmer (Libellula incesta)

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

 Updated: 7/31/2017; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ¬©

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. 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 more specific 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.

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 insects themselves in this life stage. When ready, they crawl onto land, molt and become winged adults.

Slaty Skimmer Information

Category: Dragonfly or Damselfly
Common Name: Slaty Skimmer
Scientific Name: Libellula incesta

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: Libellula
       Arrow graphic Species: incesta

Size, Identifying Tags and Territorial Reach

Size (Adult, Length): Size (Adult, Length): 45 mm to 57 mm (1.755 inches to 2.223 inches)
Identifying Colors: blue, black, yellow, brown, ivory
Additional Descriptors: blue, powdery, dusty, bands, spots, flying, helpful

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; British Columbia; 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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