Image Credit: Mary Grace H. from East Stroudsburg, PA
Image Credit: Diane J.T. from Polonia, WI
Males of this summertime dragonfly sports a plethora of brown-black and white spots on its glassy wings.
If given time to count, one would see a total of twelve black spots on all four wings of the male; three on each one. Between these black spots sit eight bright white spots that may even appear light blue. White smudges also appear next to the body. The female and immature males have the twelve brown-black spots, but not the white ones, so it is still acceptable to call them all twelve-spotted. Males have a powdery blue abdomen or 'tail'. The female tail is mostly black with a long yellow stripe on each side. Adults feed on small flying insects.
Like other skimmers, the Twelve-spotted Skimmer is usually found near sources of water. Females lay eggs in ponds, lakes, or slow-moving streams and rivers where they hatch into naiads. The young naiads look more like crustaceans than dragonflies and spend this early life stage underwater. After feeding and growing, naiads eventually crawl out of the water and molt into winged adults.
This species is common across all three countries on the North American continent. They are active mostly in the summer and are fast fliers. Look for these large, robust skimmers near the water's edge by lagoons, creeks, ponds, and lakes.
Scientific Name: Libellula pulchella
Other Name(s): Ten-spot Skimmer, Ten-spot Dragonfly
Dragonfly or Damselfly
Size (Adult; Length): 48mm to 53mm (1.87in to 2.07in)
Colors: black, white, blue, orange, brown
Descriptors: six black, six white, spots, brown, blue tail, flying, dragonfly, twelve, ten
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