- Author: Kathy Keatley Garvey
Most of the time, I see red.
Occasionally, I see spots.
Red? The flameskimmer dragonflies (Libellula saturata) that hang out in our pollinator garden.
Spots? The 12-spot dragonfly, Libellula pulchella.
On Sunday, July 16 a male Libellula pulchella (as identified by Greg Kareofelas, Bohart Museum of Entomology associate) zigzagged into our pollinator garden in Vacaville and assumed the position--on a bamboo stake. He was there to feast on a few insects.
BugGuide.net says of the 12-spot dragonfly:
"Once upon a time, this was the Ten-spot(ted) Skimmer, and formerly appeared in most books under that common name. To make it so, the basal spot of opposite wings was counted as one spot crossing the thorax (and so it appears at a glance, especially when they are flying or seen from a distance). Some authors rationalize it as counting the cloudy white spots on the wings, but that's only good for mature males, and it often doesn't work (there are often only eight white spots, the two at the base of the hind wing either missing or having been rubbed off)."
It's one of about 25 to 30 species, and most are North American, according to BugGuide.Net. How can you distinguish males from females? "Mature males have twelve brown wing spots, as well as eight white wing spots. The basal area of the hind wing is also whitish. Females and immature males have the twelve brown wing spots but not the white spots. Their abdomens are brown with a yellow stripe along each side."
Check out BugGuide.net for more information and beautiful photos!