Widow Skimmer (Libellula luctuosa)
Detailing the physical features, habits, territorial reach and other identifying qualities of the Widow Skimmer.
Updated: 8/29/2017; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ©www.InsectIdentification.org
Widow Skimmers are large and slow, making them great for observers to study. Males and females do not look alike, but they have no problem recognizing each other.
Widow Skimmers live near warm waters. The water source could be a pond, marsh, small lake or lagoon. Water is necessary for the early years, so adults can be found near these types of places. Wings for males and females are similar with thick black bands on either side, but the long abdomen is a light powdery blue for males and yellow-and-black on females. Come mating season, adults pair off and mate. Unlike some other species where males guard egg-laying females, Widow Skimmer males leave the female by herself, 'widowing' her as her lays her eggs just under the surface of the water.
Larval dragonflies are called naiads. They usually have large jaws and look more like a squat bug than an elegant dragonfly. They live underwater and eat smaller aquatic insects including other naiads sharing the same pond. They eventually leave the water and begin crawling on land to find a shrub or low plant to cling to. They will molt again and emerge as adults in late spring or summer, depending on the climate. Adults feed on small insects and can be found resting on shrubs and other short plants.