SPECIES ID / Invertebrates


Skimmer Dragonflies


• 35 genera and 156 species in North America

•5 genera and 23 species in British Columbia

Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Odonata
Family: Libellulidae

Identification Tips:

• Body length 8-30 mm
• Stout body
• Lower lip is spoon or scoop shaped
• Top of body may be smooth,or have shrot stubby spines or hooks
• Rear of abdomen has either 2 short points (as in photograph) or 2 long flat spines

• Species vary widely in size and colouration
• Eyes meet broadly on top of head
• Often seen perched horizontally in sun
• Usually a darting flight pattern
• Most common around shores of lakes, ponds or sluggish streams

Life History:

• Usually the most abundant dragonflies in still waters of ponds, lakes, wetlands and ditches
• Prefer warm shallow waters
• Some species tolerate brackish waters of estuaries
• Predatory on smaller invertebrates
• Most crawl on the bottom but some species climb in aquatic vegetation
• Usually dull coloured and hairs on body may trap silt and sediment, aiding in camouflage
• Usually one generation per year
• Some species are very tolerant of low oxygen levels

Very Sensitive Somewhat Sensitive Facultative Somewhat Tolerant Very Tolerant
    Some Some Most

Primary Information Source:
Voshell, J. Reese. 2002. A Guide to Common Freshwater Invertebrates of North America. McDonald and Woodward Publishing Company. Blacksburg, Virginia.