Keeled Skimmer

Orthetrum coerulescens

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Length: 40-44mm

Flight period: June to September (occasionally May)

The abdomen appears quite slim and has a pronounced dorsal keel. The wings have a straw yellow costa and yellow or brown pterostigma. At rest, the wings are often held well forward. The thorax has pale yellow ante-humeral stripes which fade with age in the male.

Male: develops a blue pruinescence over the whole length of the abdomen. Its eyes are blue-grey.

Female: has a pale, yellowish-brown abdomen with a medial black line.


Pools and streams in wet heathland sites are favoured. May be found resting low in heather at such sites.

Status & Distribution

Locally common. Patchy distribution, mainly western Britain and Ireland.

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Similar species

Could be confused with Black-tailed Skimmer or Scarce Chaser.