The Dragonflies and Damselflies of North Carolina
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North Carolina's 187 Odonate species

Sort Species by: Family   Scientific Name       [ Undocumented ]
Related Species in LIBELLULIDAE: Number of records for 2019 = 68

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Widow Skimmer (Libellula luctuosa) by Mark Shields
Compare with:   Distinctive
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Note: these identification tips apply specifically to mature males; features may differ in immature males and in females.

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mapClick on county for list of all its records for Widow Skimmer
distribution Essentially statewide; only a few extreme eastern Coastal Plain counties lack records. Presumably present in all counties.
abundance Generally very common in the Piedmont and lower mountains; fairly common in the western Coastal Plain, though numbers decrease toward the coast, such that it is scarce in the eastern counties. Common in the middle elevations of the mountains. One of the more numerous dragonflies in the mountain province.
flight Downstate, early or mid-April to mid-October, but not numerous until late May. In the mountains, the flight is from late May to late September.
habitat Typical breeding sites as for other skimmers -- ponds, small lakes, marshes, and pools.
behavior Unlike most other skimmers, this species typically moves away from water to spend most of its time foraging in fields, powerline clearings, woodland borders, and other sunny to partly sunny places. Adults often perch on twigs of woody plants or on herbaceous vegetation, in such open areas.
comments This might be the "flashiest" of our skimmers, as they are quite common, perch in open places within easy view, and have bold wing patterns. The wide black and frosted white bands of the male are impossible to miss when on the wing. Numbers of the species are seldom large at any given locale, as they seem territorial, and swarms are not generally noted. Nonetheless, it can occasionally be the most often seen dragonfly on a Piedmont walk, especially away from pond margins.
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S_rank S5
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G_rank G5
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Species account update: LeGrand

Photo Gallery for Widow Skimmer

Other NC Galleries:    Jeff Pippen    Will Cook    Ted Wilcox
Photo by: Mike Turner

Comment: Forsyth, 2018-07-01, Winston Lake - 15 ad.males
Photo by: Mark Shields

Comment: Jackson, 2018-06-25, Pond beside Breedlove Road, 5 km northeast of Cashiers
Photo by: Mark Shields

Comment: Craven, 2018-06-16, Swift Creek; 7 km section between Cool Springs Boating Access Area and NC 43 bridge, by kayak
Photo by: Mark Shields

Comment: Chowan, 2018-06-09, Edenton National Fish Hatchery
Photo by: Mark Shields

Comment: Edgecombe, 2018-05-25, Etheridge Pond, Tar River Game Land
Photo by: Mark Shields

Comment: Duplin, 2017-09-03, Northeast Cape Fear River, Kenansville Boating Access Area
Photo by: Mark Shields

Comment: Lenoir, 2017-08-01, Neuseway Nature Park, Kinston
Photo by: Guy McGrane

Comment: Watauga, 2017-07-17, Boone Greenway-created wetland area
Photo by: Vin Stanton

Comment: Buncombe, 2017-06-11, Owen Park, Warren Wilson College - Female and Male
Photo by: Barbara McRae

Comment: Macon, 2017-06-12, Franklin, Little Tennessee River, wetland near Greenway - Perched in wetland near river
Photo by: Mark Shields

Comment: Rutherford; P, 2017-06-02, Morse Park, Lake Lure
Photo by: Mark Shields

Comment: Onslow, 2017-05-29, Stones Creek Game Land
Photo by: Curtis Smalling

Comment: Avery, 2015-07-03, Banner Elk Greenway Trail
Photo by: Curtis Smalling

Comment: Wilkes; M, 2015-06-16, WRC fishing put in on Triplett Rd. - foraging away from water
Photo by: Owen McConnell

Comment: Cherokee, 2015-06-15, Cherokee Lake (a dammed creek arm of Hiwassee Lake)
Photo by: Conrad Wernett

Comment: Onslow, 2014-06-29, - Seen at retention pond and along New River
Photo by: Conrad Wernett

Comment: Jones, 2014-06-22, - Two males spotted at Brocks Mill
Photo by: Doug Johnston, Vin Stanton

Comment: Graham, 2013-07-16, Tallulah Bog - Male & Female
Photo by: Nancy Cowal

Comment: McDowell; M, 2012-08-31, Old Fort / submitted by Vin Stanton - Male & Female
Photo by: Vin Stanton, Doug Johnston, Simon Thompson

Comment: Polk; P, 2012-08-04, FENCE - Male & Female
Photo by: Owen McConnell

Comment: Durham, 2012-06-13, Quail Roost - young male
Photo by: Doug Johnston

Comment: Madison, 2012-06-08, Leach pond, close to Sandy Mush Gamelands
Photo by: Vin Stanton, Doug Johnston

Comment: Transylvania, 2011-08-19, Brevard - Male & Female
Photo by: Bob Oberfelder

Comment: Wake, 2011-07-29, Observed in Cary at Lochmere Golf Course, female
Photo by: Vin Stanton, Doug Johnston

Comment: Haywood, 2011-06-08, imaged at lake Junaluska and seen at Haywood Community College - M & F present only F imaged
Photo by: Vin Stanton

Comment: Henderson, 2011-06-07, Imaged at Fletcher Park - males and females, image of Imm Male
Photo by: Vin Stanton

Comment: Buncombe, 2009-09-08, Imaged at Beaver Lake - male
Photo by: Bob Oberfelder

Comment: Wake, 2009-06-26, Observed in Cary at Lochmere Golf Course, Male
Photo by: Lori Owenby

Comment: Catawba, 2009-06-14, Shell Hollar Road Pond - around pond edges
Photo by: Lori Owenby

Comment: Catawba, 2009-06-04, all sightings from Riverbend Park - female perched on grass near wet upland pine ditch
Photo by: B. Anderson

Comment: Wake, 2008-06-11, male, Obs. at south end of Big Lake.
Photo by: Joe Lafferty

Comment: Brunswick, 2007-06-12,
Photo by: Salman Abdulali

Comment: Pitt, 2006-08-05, River Park North
Photo by: Curtis Smalling

Comment: Watauga, 2006-06-20, Meat Camp Creek Environmental Studies Area near point 36.24414; 081.62866
Photo by: Ted Wilcox

Comment: Ashe County, 2004-08-03, female
Photo by: Ted Wilcox

Comment: Ashe County, 2005-06-10, female