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 added in 2020 = 0

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Swift Setwing (Dythemis velox) by John Petranka
Compare with: Blue Dasher  
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 Swift Setwing
distribution Primarily the Piedmont, but also scattered over the central and southern mountains (at low elevations) and in the western Coastal Plain, with quite disjunct records for Jones and Onslow counties in the lower Coastal Plain. Present in the western portion of the Sandhills region.
abundance Fairly common (and apparently increasing) in the Piedmont, except scarce to locally absent in the northwestern portion of the province. Very rare in the central and southern (low) mountains and Coastal Plain portion of the range. The species has slowly been expanding its range northeastward in recent decades.
flight Much of the warmer months, from early May to early October; however, most records fall between early June and mid-September. There are not enough data to define the flight periods in the mountains or Coastal Plain, as the above refers to the Piedmont province flight data.
habitat Ponds and small lakes, but might breed also at slow rivers or wide creeks. These waters are typically in open or partly open situations.

See also Habitat Account for General Beaver Ponds and Semi-natural Impoundments
behavior Males are almost always seen close to the margin of a pond or lake, perching usually several to many feet above water on twigs of small trees along the margin. Females may forage farther from water but are much less often seen.
comments This is our only Dythemis (setwing), and thus it looks and acts like no other dragonfly in NC. The narrow black abdomen has a conspicuous white dorsal spot on segment 7. Most notable is that adults typically perch in a "sprinter's stance", with abdomen raised, seemingly ready to bolt at any moment. Sometimes they perch with wings drooped and held forward, as do Blue Dashers, but they can just as often perch with wings held above horizontal, angled over their thorax. They are somewhat wary and people typically need binoculars (or a net) to see them well. A recent (2017) photographic record for Onslow County may suggest that the species is expanding its range into the eastern Coastal Plain.
S_rank S4S5
G_rank G5
date_spread [Overwinter:] [Date Spread:] [No Late Date:] [Split on Feb:] [Default:]
Species account update: LeGrand on 2020-01-24 09:59:29

Photo Gallery for Swift Setwing

Other NC Galleries:    Jeff Pippen    Will Cook    Ted Wilcox
Photo by: R. Emmitt

Comment: Durham, 2019-06-13, Eno River State Park down stream of Cole Mill Rd - perched at the edge of the Eno River.
Photo by: Owen McConneli and Simpson Eason

Comment: Graham, 2018-08-03, First county record, 4:52 PM at Cheoah Pt. swimming area
Photo by: Mike Turner

Comment: Forsyth, 2018-07-08, Winston Lake
Photo by: Mike Turner

Comment: Guilford, 2018-06-30, Lake Higgins
Photo by: Owen McConnell

Comment: Granville, 2017-07-17, Holt Lake near boat launch ramp - female
Photo by: John Petranka

Comment: Onslow, 2017-07-09, Cow Horn Creek at Cow Horn Road east of Richlands. Access point for New River Paddle Trail. - Male. First record for Onslow County, and an unusual occurrence for the lower Coastal Plain.
Photo by: Jim Petranka

Comment: Madison, 2016-07-22, On the bank of the Ivy River along the Forks-of-Ivy Road.
Photo by: John Petranka

Comment: Orange, 2015-06-22, Along New Hope Creek in Falls of New Hope neighborhood park. - Female.
Photo by: Carl Ganser

Comment: Mecklenburg, 2014-06-28, Reedy Creek NP, beside dragonfly pond
Photo by: John Petranka

Comment: Orange, 2013-08-18, Eno River State Park (ENRI). Pleasant Green Access. - Male.
Photo by: Nancy Cowal

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

Comment: Polk; P, 2012-08-04, FENCE - Male
Photo by: Conrad Wernett, Ali Iyoob

Comment: Wake, 2012-07-29, - Perched in vegitation along Nuese River
Photo by: Mike Turner

Comment: Wake, 2012-07-15, Tailrace below the Falls Lake dam
Photo by: Mike Turner

Comment: Wake, 2012-07-15, Tailrace below the Falls Lake dam
Photo by: Steve Hall and Harry LeGrand

Comment: Northampton, 2012-07-13, North shore of the Roanoke River at the US 258 bridge crossing - perched next to a pond
Photo by: Doug Johnston

Comment: Buncombe, 2012-06-05, Azalea Park, Asheville
Photo by: Steve Hall

Comment: Montgomery, 2010-08-30, Dutchmans Creek
Photo by: Bob Oberfelder

Comment: Wake, 2010-07-24, Observed in Cary at Lochmere Golf Course, male
Photo by: Doug Johnston

Comment: Alamance, 2009-07-23, I-40 rest area - Rest area I-40
Photo by: Jeff Pippen

Comment: Orange, 2004-08-21,
Photo by: R. Emmitt

Comment: Orange, 2004-07-17. male Cole Mill Access to Eno River State Park