Description

Medium-sized dragonfly with a tapering abdomen.

Male: blue abdomen darkening to the rear.

Females: yellow with dark ladder pattern on the abdomen.

 

 

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Latin NameOrthetrum cancellatum
Habitat

Favours lakes, slow rivers, ponds and occasionally marshy area, that have open water and bare patches along the shore. Patrolling males frequently rest in the sun on bare ground.

Status & Distribution

Quite common in south-east Britain. This species has spread significantly in both England and Wales

since the late 1980s, but was only recorded for the first time in Scotland in 2006.

Similar Species

Keeled Skimmer

  • Yellow pterostigma not dark.
  • Males don’t have dark colouration on the abdomen.
  • Females have a thin black marking down the middle of the abdomen instead of the ladder pattern.

Scarce Chaser

  • Black costa not yellow.
  • Males have blue eyes not green.
  • Females have a black marking down the middle of the abdomen instead of the ladder pattern.

 

 

Species GroupDragonflies
Identification Notes
  • Length: 44-49 mm
  • Wings have a yellow costa (leading wing vein).
  • Dark pterostigma (wing spots).
  • Males: blue abdomen darkening to the rear with S8-10 becoming black. Green eyes.
  • Females: yellow with dark ladder pattern on the abdomen; becomes darker with age. Olive-brown eyes.
  • Immature adults: similar to females.
  • They fly swift and low, skimming the water surface.
Flight PeriodBlack-tailed Skimmer
Larval Information

Skimmers and Chasers have a squat, spider-like body-shape, a square back to the head and small eyes.

23-25.5mm.

Eyes that point upwards.

No dorsal spines on abdominal segment 7 and 8.