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Halloween Pennant (Celithemis eponina)

Detailing the physical features, habits, territorial reach and other identifying qualities of the Halloween Pennant

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Image Credit: Arch Baker
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Image Credit: Barry M. from Hahira, GA
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Image Credit: Julio Guerrero Photography
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The bright and flashy Halloween Pennant is a bright dragonfly that floats like a butterfly.

Updated: 09/08/2022; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ©www.InsectIdentification.org
Bright orange and black-banded wings make the Halloween Pennant an easy dragonfly to spot. Its festive coloring is similar to many types of butterflies, and its fluttering manner of flight makes it reasonable to mistake it for one at first sight. The long abdomen should be an instant giveaway, however, that it belongs in the Odonata family with all other dragonflies.

This species is comfortable resting on tall reeds and grasses in marshes, ponds or by creeks and stream. Sometimes it will raise its abdomen straight up in the air while perched; other times it will lay flat. Sometimes it holds just its forewings upward while flattening its hindwings, a position that is somewhat unusual for dragonflies.

Adults hunt for insects among nearby water and the surrounding vegetation. Males and females fly together as she lays her fertilized eggs just under the water's surface. After hatching, the young naiads spend their time eating and growing underwater. They will molt several times and then crawl out of the water to finally develop into a winged adult on land.©InsectIdentification.org

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General Characteristics

Capability, Shape, Texture/Pattern, Benefits, Dangers
Flying insect icon
Striped or banded insect icon

Taxonomic Hierarchy

Species Breakdown
Kingdom: Animalia
  Phylum: Arthropoda
    Class: Insecta
      Order: Odonata
        Family: Libellulidae
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          Genus: Celithemis
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            Species: eponina

Identifying Information

Size, Colors, Features
Scientific Name: Celithemis eponina
Category: Dragonfly or Damselfly
Size (Adult; Length): 30mm to 42mm (1.18" to 1.65")
Colorwheel Graphic Colors: orange; black; red
Descriptors: flying; dragonfly; bands; stripes

Relative Size Comparison

Typical Size Between 30mm (1.2in) and 42mm (1.7in)
Lo: 30mm
Md: 36mm
Hi: 42mm

Territorial Map*

U.S., Canada, and Mexico
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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 Halloween Pennant 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 Halloween Pennant. Insects generally go where they please, typically driven by diet, environmental changes, and / or mating habits.
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