Insect Identification logo
Icon of a spider
Icon of a beetle insect
Icon of a butterfly
Icon of a bee
Icon of the Bugfinder utility

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.




Taxonomic Hierarchy
Kingdom: Animalia
  Phylum: Arthropoda
    Class: Insecta
      Order: Odonata
        Family: Libellulidae
          Genus: Libellula
            Species: luctuosa
Identifying Information
Scientific Name: Libellula luctuosa
Category: Dragonfly or Damselfly
Size (Adult; Length): 42mm to 50mm (1.64in to 1.95in)
Colorwheel Graphic Colors: white, black, blue, yellow, brown
Descriptors: flying, spots, dragonfly, banded, stripes
Territorial Map
Alaska  
Hawaii  
Prince Edward Is.  
State of Alabama graphic
State of Arizona graphic
State of Arkansas graphic
State of California graphic
State of Colorado graphic
State of Delware graphic
State of Florida graphic
State of Georgia graphic
State of Idaho graphic
State of Illinois graphic
State of Indiana graphic
State of Iowa graphic
State of Kansas graphic
State of Kentucky graphic
State of Louisiana graphic
State of Maine graphic
State of Maryland graphic
State of Michigan graphic
State of Minnesota graphic
State of Mississippi graphic
State of Missouri graphic
State of Montana graphic
State of Nebraska graphic
State of Nevada graphic
State of New England graphic
State of New Jersey graphic
State of New Mexico graphic
State of New York graphic
State of North Carolina graphic
State of North Dakota graphic
State of Ohio graphic
State of Oklahoma graphic
State of Oregon graphic
State of Pennsylvania graphic
State of South Carolina graphic
State of South Dakota graphic
State of Tennessee graphic
State of Texas graphic
State of Utah graphic
State of Virginia graphic
State of Washington graphic
State of West Virginia graphic
State of Wisconsin graphic
State of Wyoming graphic
Canadian territory of Alberta graphic
Canadian territory of British Columbia graphic
Canadian territory of Manitoba graphic
Canadian territory of New Brunswick graphic
Canadian territory of Newfoundland and Labrador graphic
Canadian territory of Ontario graphic
Canadian territory of Quebec graphic
Canadian territory of Saskatchewan graphic
Territory map graphic of the country of Mexico
Contiguous United States shape map layer graphic


Territorial Reach (A-to-Z)
Alabama
Alaska
Arizona
Arkansas
California
Colorado
Connecticut
Delware
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
Canadian National Flag Graphic
Alberta
British Columbia
Manitoba
New Brunswick
Newfoundland and Labrador
Nova Scotia
Ontario
Prince Edward Island
Quebec
Saskatchewan
Mexican National Flag Graphic
Mexico
Note: 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 as they are driven by environmental factors (such as climate change), available food supplies and mating patterns. Grayed-out selections indicate that the subject in question has not been reported in that particular territory. U.S. states and Canadian provinces / territories are clickable to their respective bug listings.