The Dragonflies and Damselflies of North Carolina
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North Carolina's 187 Odonate species
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Related Species in LIBELLULIDAE: Number of records for 2019 = 1

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e.g., flight data, high counts, and earliest/latest dates can be seen.
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Elfin Skimmer (Nannothemis bella) by John Petranka, Sally Gewalt
Compare with: Little Blue Dragonlet  
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 Elfin Skimmer
distribution In NC, it is restricted to the Sandhills region, plus the adjacent western Coastal Plain (Bladen County). Although one might assume the northern edge of the range lies in NC, the whole range covers the Atlantic seaboard from southeastern Canada south to FL and LA, and west to MN. Clearly, the species has a highly disjunct overall range; it almost certainly is not found in most or nearly all other Coastal Plain counties to the VA line.
abundance Uncommon to locally fairly common in the Sandhills, but as it is the smallest dragonfly, it is very easily overlooked. Probably rare east of the Sandhills. Might occur in the adjacent edge of the Piedmont.
flight A rather narrow flight period; mid-April to late July. A 2018 record from March 10 is extremely early.
habitat Highly restricted to boggy spots, with much sphagnum; often at seepages. These can be around the margins of beaver ponds or man-made ponds, damp places in powerline clearings, and natural fire-maintained seepage slopes.
behavior Adults perch and fly very close to the ground/water, often no more than 4-5" off the ground, amid grasses, sedges, and rushes. They seldom arise above the height of the herbaceous vegetation.
comments To see the species, one must go to boggy places around a pond margin or a wet powerline clearing in the Sandhills, and expect to get one's feet damp. They can be confused with Little Blue Dragonlet, which shares its habitat but is slightly larger and has a less obvious club. Be careful where you step, as you might have them underfoot!
state_status W
S_rank S3S4
fed_status
G_rank G4
synonym
other_name
Species account update: LeGrand

Photo Gallery for Elfin Skimmer

Other NC Galleries:    Jeff Pippen    Will Cook    Ted Wilcox
Photo by: Owen McConnell

Comment: Richmond; C, 2018-05-18, Broadacres Lake - 6 males, 3 females
Photo by: Mark Shields, Hunter Phillips

Comment: Scotland, 2017-05-15, Scotland Lake and in-flowing creek, Sandhills Game Land
Photo by: Mark Shields, Hunter Phillips

Comment: Scotland, 2017-05-15, Scotland Lake and in-flowing creek, Sandhills Game Land
Photo by: Kyle Kittelberger

Comment: Scotland, 2017-05-08, Sandhill Game Lands; Scotland Lake - everywhere
Photo by: Kyle Kittelberger

Comment: Scotland, 2017-05-08, Sandhill Game Lands; Scotland Lake - everywhere
Photo by: Mike Turner, Conrad Wernett, Alyssa Wernett

Comment: Scotland, 2017-05-07, Sandhill Game Lands; creek at SR1328 (Hoffman Rd)
Photo by: Mike Turner, Conrad Wernett, Alyssa Wernett

Comment: Scotland, 2017-05-07, Sandhill Game Lands; Scotland Lake - 75 ad.males
Photo by: John Petranka, Sally Gewalt

Comment: Scotland, 2015-05-08, Scotland Lake - Mostly males.
Photo by: John Petranka, Sally Gewalt

Comment: Richmond; C, 2015-05-08, Broadacres Lake; shoreline near the parking area. - Males; one a characteristcally green teneral.
Photo by: John Petranka, Sally Gewalt

Comment: Richmond; C, 2015-05-08, Broadacres Lake; shoreline near the parking area. - Males; one a characteristcally green teneral.
Photo by: Conrad Wernett, Alyssa Wernett, Matt Anderson

Comment: Richmond; C, 2015-05-03, - Males, females, both mature and immature at Scotland and Broadacres Lakes
Photo by: Ali Iyoob, Matt Daw, Dan Irizarry

Comment: Scotland, 2011-05-05, Scotland Lake in the Gamelands
Photo by: R. Emmitt

Comment: mature female from Crappie Lake, 2000-06-11