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Great Blue Skimmer (Libellula vibrans)

Detailing the physical features, habits, territorial reach and other identifying qualities of the Great Blue Skimmer

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Image Credit: Lawrence H. of Roebuck, South Carolina
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Image Credit: Barry M., taken at Moody AFB, GA
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Image Credit: Barry M., taken in Lowndes County, GA
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The Great Blue Skimmer is a large dragonfly content to watch the summer days go by.

Updated: 06/19/2023; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ©www.InsectIdentification.org
The brightly colored bodies of the Great Blue Skimmer are characteristic of most of the dragonflies in the Libellulidae family. Members are sometimes called King Skimmers because of their large size. The wings of the Great Blue Skimmer have black bands and spots. The males have an abdomen that is thick and light blue. They may have some green markings on the sides of their thorax ('chest'). Mature females have brown abdomen. Both young females and males have yellow abdomens with a dark stripe running down the center. Young females have black patches in the wing tip, but the young male does not.

Adults are most active in the peak summer months. Males can be seen resting on vegetation for long periods of time. Females flick fertilized eggs onto the shore after picking up a drop of water to help them stick on land. Larvae hatch and develop in still waters. It's common to see many living and resting in the same area.©InsectIdentification.org

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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: Libellula
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            Species: vibrans

Identifying Information

Size, Colors, Features
Scientific Name: Libellula vibrans
Other Name(s): Blue Skimmer
Category: Dragonfly or Damselfly
Size (Adult; Length): 18mm to 64mm (0.70" to 2.51")
Colorwheel Graphic Colors: blue; black; white; brown; green; yellow
Descriptors: blue; powder; large; thick; flying

Relative Size Comparison

Typical Size Between 18mm (0.7in) and 64mm (2.5in)
Lo: 18mm
Md: 41mm
Hi: 64mm

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 Great Blue Skimmer 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 Great Blue Skimmer. Insects generally go where they please, typically driven by diet, environmental changes, and / or mating habits.
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