Band-winged Meadowhawk

Sympetrum semicinctum

DISCRIPTION: This small red dragonfly is easily distinguished from other meadowhawks by the amber stripes at the base of its wings. This can be less distinct, however, in mature individuals.

BEHAVIOUR/ABUNDANCE: This is one of the meadowhawks that we have come across most often in our surveys. As its name suggests it can usually be found, along with its brethren, patrolling over or perched in meadows and fields.



Black Saddlebags

Tramea lacerata

DISCRIPTION: This medium-sized, chunky dragonfly is relatively easy to identify because of the black “saddle” on its hind wings. The bright yellow dot in its otherwise black abdomen is a very distinctive feature.

BEHAVIOUR/ABUNDANCE: Although almost never seen in large numbers, Black Saddlebags can often be found hunting over fields and meadows.




Blue Dasher

Pachydiplax longipennis

DISCRIPTION: This is a small dragonfly, easily distinguished by its blue abdomen and striped green thorax – a bit like a mini-darner.

BEHAVIOUR/ABUNDANCE: The Blue Dasher is a common dragonfly. It can be found skimming over most still ponds, or perched on vegetation.




Calico Pennant

Celithemis elisa

DISCRIPTION: This small red dragonfly is distinctive because of the markings on its wings. It has one large brown spot at the base of its hind wing, brown tips to all its wings, and smaller dots in the center along the 'leading edge'.

BEHAVIOUR/ABUNDANCE: We have seen nearly one hundred Calico Pennants in the county. It can be found around ponds or in nearby fields perched on the ends of grasses.




Chalk-fronted Corporal

Ladona Julia

DESCRIPTION: This is a distinctive dragonfly, with chalk white coloration on its thorax and at the base of its abdomen. It is relatively small with entirely transparent wings and (apart from the white parts) a black body.

BEHAVIOUR/ABUNDANCE: We have come across Chalk-fronted Corporals relatively regularly next to ponds and small lakes. We haven't actually seen that many, but this is mainly because they rarely stray far from the water. It is not recognized as being threatened in New York.




Cherry-faced Meadowhawk

Sympetrium internum

DESCRIPTION: This small dragonfly stands out because of its bright red coloration. It is extremely similar to other meadowhawks such as the Ruby, and nearly indistinguishable in the field.

BEHAVIOUR/ABUNDANCE: Although we have seen several Cherry-faced Meadowhawks, a walk through a field is much more likely to turn up a Ruby Meadowhawk. It is not endangered in New York, and can most commonly be found around small ponds or nearby fields.




Common Whitetail

Plathemis lydia

DESCRIPTION: The males of this species are instantly recognizable because of their bright blue/white abdomens and large black patches on their wings. Females have three black spots on each wing, which makes them look quite similar to Twelve-spotted Skimmer females, but closer inspection can distinguish the two because while Twelve-spotteds have a single yellow line down the side of the abdomen the Common Whitetail has a series of spots.

BEHAVIOUR/ABUNDANCE: We have seen hundreds of Common Whitetails. They are extremely abundant, and seem to be able to manage with all types and conditions of water (although they avoid anything fast-moving.) They can also be found in fields perched on vegetation or foraging.




Dot-tailed Whiteface

Leucorrhinia frigida

DESCRIPTION: With its small size, black body, bright white face and yellow spot on its tail, this is an easily distinguished dragonfly. Females look similar to other whitefaces, but they retain the unique large, square, yellow spot on their tales.

BEHAVIOUR/ABUNDANCE: We see Dot-tailed Whitefaces relatively regularly, though never in large numbers. It is not endangered. Individuals can most often be found around ponds or other small stagnant bodies of water.




Eastern Amberwing

Perithemis tenera

DESCRIPTION: This is the smallest dragonfly in our area. It is red-brown, and the male has several brown patches in its wings. The female's wings vary from entirely clear to amber in color.

BEHAVIOUR/ABUNDANCE: We see Eastern Amberwings regularly around ponds and other still water, or perched on vegetation in nearby fields.




Eastern Pondhawk

Pachydiplax longipennis

DESCRIPTION: This is a medium-small dragonfly who's most defining characteristic, for both sexes, is the bright white end of the abdomen. Males are almost all a dull blue, while females are a striking green with black markings.

BEHAVIOUR/ABUNDANCE: We see Eastern Pondhawks quite regularly. They can most often be found around ponds, although the females can frequently be spotted perched on vegetation in fields.




Four-spotted Skimmer

Libellula quadrimaculata

DESCRIPTION: This is a mid-sized dragonfly, distinctive because of the coloration of its abdomen – the upper half is brown and the lower black – and the amber leading edge of its wings. In addition, it has a black patch at the back of the hind wing, and small black spots at the midpoint of each wing.

BEHAVIOUR/ABUNDANCE: We have seen only a few Four-spotted Skimmers, although it is not endangered. It can be found around ponds, swamps, and marshy streams.




Halloween Pennant

Celithemis eponina

DESCRIPTION: This is a mid to small pennant, with distinctive yellow and black coloration and bands across its wings.

BEHAVIOUR/ABUNDANCE: We see Halloween Pennants regularly, mostly perched on tall vegetation in fields, but also around ponds.




Ruby Meadowhawk

Sympetrum rubicundulum

DESCRIPTION: This is a small bright red dragonfly, that is indistinguishable from other meadowhawks in the field.

BEHAVIOUR/ABUNDANCE: This dragonfly is considered uncommon in New York. It can be seen around swamps, wet meadows, and wetlands.




Slaty Skimmer

Libellula incesta

DESCRIPTION: This dragonfly is instantly recognizable because of its entirely purple-blue body and black eyes.

BEHAVIOUR/ABUNDANCE: We see Slaty Skimmers occasionally, mostly around the edges of ponds and lakes.




Spangled Skimmer

Libellula cyanea

DESCRIPTION: This is a medium sized dragonfly. The mails are almost entirely a dusty purple, while the females are black and yellow. It can be easily distinguished by the white stigmas on its wings.

BEHAVIOUR/ABUNDANCE: We see Spangled Skimmers very rarely. It can be found around ponds and streams.




Twelve-spotted Skimmer

Libellula pulchella

DESCRIPTION: This is a large, easily distinguished dragonfly. The males of this species have a distinctive pattern of black and white spots on their wings, while the females are similar, but without the white.

BEHAVIOUR/ABUNDANCE: We see Twelve-spotted Skimmers quite often. They can be seen near bodies of water, or patrolling over fields.




Wandering Glider

Pantala flavescens

DESCRIPTION: This is a relatively large dragonfly. It is dull yellow-orange in color, and its wings have an orange stigma.

BEHAVIOUR/ABUNDANCE: We see Wandering Gliders occasionally, but never in groups. They can most often be seen gliding over fields and in wide open areas. Interestingly, this is the only dragonfly species to be found on every continent (except for Antarctica).




White-faced Meadowhawk

Sympetrum obstrusum

DESCRIPTION: This is a typical bright red meadowhawk. Its white face is distinctive, but this is only present in mature males.

BEHAVIOUR/ABUNDANCE: We see these dragonflies occasionally. They can be found in swamps and wet vegetated areas, but they can also be seen perched or patrolling in fields.




Widow Skimmer

Libellula luctuosa

DESCRIPTION: This small-medium sized dragonfly can be distinguished by the black patches at the base of its wings. In males these patches are followed by white. Both sexes have a relatively dark thorax, and the female has two yellow lines running down the sides of its abdomen.

BEHAVIOUR/ABUNDANCE: We see Widow Skimmers very frequently. They can be found near ponds and lakes and in a wide variety of fields.




Yellow-legged Meadowhawk

Sympetrum vicinum

DESCRIPTION: This is a typical red meadowhawk, but its lighter legs distinguish it from other similar species.

BEHAVIOUR/ABUNDANCE: We see Yellow-Legged Meadowhawks rarely. They can be found near still water, or foraging in fields.




Dragonflies and Damselflies (Odonates)