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Wandering Glider (Pantala flavescens)

Detailing the identifying qualities of the Wandering Glider, including physical features and territorial reach.

 Updated: 9/5/2017; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ¬©

  Wandering Glider  
Picture of Wandering-Glider-Dragonfly

The hardy Wandering Glider is found on almost every continent on Earth, weathering all sorts of storms and covering long distances in flight.

Wind is a good friend to the Wandering Glider. This dragonfly uses air currents to do most of the aerial work for it and can stay in the air for hours before resting. When they do land, one can see their markings and coloring for a clear identification. The abdomen is yellow, though in males it may be more orange-red. Fine black lines cross the abdomen and a black line down the dorsal side ('spine') swells a bit in each segment. Clear wings each have one yellow-brown cell at the upper edge, resembling a tiny fragment of stained glass. Adults can fly in swarms with other adults, and even among other dragonfly species, as they feed on flying insects.

Mating is done while in flight. Females lay fertilized eggs in ponds, temporary puddles left by rain (hence the alternative name of Rainpool Glider), and swimming pools. Reflective surfaces like car hoods and wet asphalt are mistaken for water and females have been seen trying to lay eggs on them. Naiads (juveniles) spend this early life stage in the water feeding on aquatic insects and plankton. They crawl onto land when ready to molt into winged adults. They can survive dry spells on land, further attesting to this species' resilience.

Look for adults flying a few meters above ponds at the banks of other bodies of water. They also rest on low-growing plants and reeds with a vertical abdomen and wings spread open. They migrate to warmer regions when weather cools and are active year-round in the tropics.

Wandering Glider Information

Category: Dragonfly or Damselfly
Common Name: Wandering Glider
Scientific Name: Pantala flavescens
Other Name(s): Globe Skimmer, Globe Wanderer, Golden Glider, Rainpool Glider

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: Pantala
       Arrow graphic Species: flavescens

Size, Identifying Tags and Territorial Reach

Size (Adult, Length): Size (Adult, Length): 44 mm to 51 mm (1.716 inches to 1.989 inches)
Identifying Colors: yellow, orange, red, black
Additional Descriptors: lines, yellow, flying

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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