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Eastern Amberwing (Perithemis tenera)

Detailing the physical features, habits, territorial reach and other identifying qualities of the Eastern Amberwing

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The orange Eastern Amberwing is a fiery dragonfly that adds a flash of raging color as it flies just above the water.

Updated: 09/25/2020; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ©www.InsectIdentification.org
This dragonfly stays low, close to the water's surface as it flies, feeding on small insects. Males stake a claim on a shoreline territory, preferring areas where vegetation and wood bits stick out of the water. A female will enter a male's territory to mate and then lays her eggs in the water by tapping the tip of her abdomen just into the water's surface. The eggs spread out and eventually naiads (larvae) hatch, and they spend their lives underwater feeding on other small aquatic insects. Once they are ready for adulthood, they will crawl out of the water onto logs, branches or other sturdy wood and molt one last time into a winged adult.

Eastern Amberwings are found near bodies of water like streams, creeks, marshes, ponds and lagoons. They have bright orange wings covered in veins and large red eyes. Brown and yellow lines on the abdominal segments mimic banding seen in wasps. They are small and flick their tails, a behavior that also simulates wasps. Unlike wasps, dragonflies do not have antennae. They are most active on sunny days.

General Characteristics
Capability, Shape, Texture/Pattern, Benefits, Dangers
Flying insect icon


Taxonomic Hierarchy
Species Breakdown
Kingdom: Animalia
  Phylum: Arthropoda
    Class: Insecta
      Order: Odonata
        Family: Libellulidae
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          Genus: Perithemis
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            Species: tenera
Identifying Information
Size, Colors, Features
Scientific Name: Perithemis tenera
Other Name(s): Low-Flying Amberwing
Category: Dragonfly or Damselfly
Size (Adult; Length): 20mm to 25mm (0.78" to 0.98")
Colorwheel Graphic Colors: orange, red, white, brown
Descriptors: flying

Relative Size Comparison
Typical Size Between 20mm (0.8in) and 25mm (1.0in)
Lo: 20mm
Md: 22.5mm
Hi: 25mm
Territorial Map*
U.S., Canada, and Mexico
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Territory map graphic of the country of Mexico
Contiguous United States shape map layer graphic
Prince Edward Is.  
* MAP NOTES: The territorial heat map above showcases (in red) the states and territories of North America where the Eastern Amberwing may be found (but is not limited to). This sort of data is useful when attempting to see concentrations of particular species across the continent as well as revealing possible migratory patterns over a species' given lifespan. Some insects are naturally confined by environment, weather, mating habits, food resources and the like while others see widespread expansion across most, or all, of North America. States/Territories shown above are a general indicator of areas inhabited by the Eastern Amberwing. Insects generally go where they please, typically driven by diet, environmental changes, and / or mating habits.


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