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 2020 = 0

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e.g., flight data, high counts, and earliest/latest dates can be seen.
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Twelve-spotted Skimmer (Libellula pulchella) by Beth Brinson
Compare with:   Distinctive
Identification Tips: Move the cursor over the image, or tap the image if using a mobile device, to reveal ID Tips.
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 Twelve-spotted Skimmer
flight charts
distribution A partly migratory species. Mountains, Piedmont, and western half of the Coastal Plain; seemingly absent in the eastern 40-50% of the Coastal Plain, as there are no records east of Gates, Pitt, Lenoir, and Pender counties. Resident only in the mountains and parts of the western Piedmont; rather seasonal (spring and fall only) in the eastern half of the state.
abundance Uncommon to locally fairly common in the mountains. Uncommon in the Piedmont as a whole, though a migrant though much of the province, and in the eastern portions can be rather rare and is not resident there. A rare migrant in the western half of the Coastal Plain, where seen mainly in fall migration.
flight In the mountains, where it is a resident (though some records might refer to migrants), the flight is from late April to late September. The Piedmont set of flight dates is from very late April to mid-Otober, with a stray record for early November. The fact that there is a clear dip in records in midsummer in the Piedmont flight chart is a strong indication that the species is mainly a migrant, seen mostly in spring/early summer and late summer/fall. In the Coastal Plain, where migratory, the dates range from mid-May to mid-October, with most being from late August into October.
habitat Ponds, lakes, and marshes, typically in open situations.

See also Habitat Account for General Beaver Ponds and Semi-natural Impoundments
behavior Males are very conspicuous as they patrol, often hovering, over their pools and ponds. Adults are similar to other skimmers in that they often forage well away from water in fields and wooded borders.
comments Much is still to be learned about its biology in NC. This species is one of the few dragonflies that is partly migratory in the state. Individuals appear in the Coastal Plain and in much of the Piedmont at sites away from breeding waters, often where observers are quite familiar with the general area. Plus, they are seen mainly in spring or late summer/fall. The female looks quite similar to the female Common Whitetail and thus could be overlooked. However, adult males are very conspicuous and elicit much excitement when seen, because of their "snazzy" appearance and relative scarcity in NC.
S_rank S4
G_rank G5
date_spread [Overwinter:] [Date Spread:] [No Late Date:] [Split on Feb:] [Default:]
Species account update: LeGrand on 2020-01-24 10:43:08

Photo Gallery for Twelve-spotted Skimmer

Other NC Galleries:    Jeff Pippen    Will Cook    Ted Wilcox
Photo by: B. Bockhahn

Comment: Stokes, 2019-08-20, Hanging Rock State Park, vade mecum
Photo by: John Petranka, Jim Petranka and party.

Comment: Avery, 2019-05-21, Pond on private property that adjoins the Blue Ridge Parkway in southern Avery County. - Male.
Photo by: Mike Turner

Comment: Wilkes; P, 2018-09-22, W. Kerr Scott Dam and Reservoir; from dam to ~1000' downstream
Photo by: John Petranka, Sally Gewalt

Comment: Orange, 2018-09-20, Brumley Forest Preserve, North side of Hwy. NC 10 at silo pond. - Male.
Photo by: Mike Turner

Comment: Forsyth, 2018-07-02, Tanglewood Park - ad.male
Photo by: Mark Shields

Comment: Jackson, 2018-06-25, Pond beside Breedlove Road, 5 km northeast of Cashiers - First record for county
Photo by: Barbara McRae

Comment: Macon, 2018-06-09, Wetland area near Little Tennessee River, Franklin
Photo by: Mike Turner

Comment: Watauga, 2018-06-02, Brookshire Park; Boone, NC - ad.males
Photo by: Guy McGrane

Comment: Ashe, 2017-07-18, Pond Mountain gamelands, at one of the ponds on top of the mountain. Including photo just for verification - Male
Photo by: M. Tschopp

Comment: Wake, 2015-08-16, North Wake Landfill District Park
Photo by: Steve Hall and Harry LeGrand

Comment: Northampton, 2012-05-17, Roanoke River Wetlands Game Lands, along both sides of US 258 north of the Roanoke River - female
Photo by: Vin Stanton, Janie Owens, Gail Lankford

Comment: Haywood, 2011-08-13, Cataloochee Valley, GSMNP - Male
Photo by: Curtis Smalling

Comment: Watauga, 2011-06-10, all at Meat Camp Creek Environmental Studies Area
Photo by: Doug Johnston

Comment: Buncombe, 2011-06-05, - Leicester patch
Photo by: Mark Shields

Comment: Pender, 2010-10-13, Holly Shelter Game Land - apparent first record for Pender Co.
Photo by: Doug Johnston

Comment: Buncombe, 2010-06-08, - Leicester patch
Photo by: Curtis Smalling

Comment: Watauga, 2010-05-26, Meat Camp Creek Environmental Studies Area
Photo by: Vin Stanton

Comment: Henderson, 2009-09-24, Imaged at Fletcher Park
Photo by: Vin Stanton

Comment: Buncombe, 2009-09-13, Imaged at Beaver Lake, Asheville
Photo by: Beth Brinson

Comment: Alleghany, 2009-06-27, Blue Ridge Parkway, Male
Photo by: Ted Wilcox

Comment: Ashe County, 2005-09-07, male