Where to See

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Species GroupDragonflies
Scientific NameOrthetrum coerulescens
Status & Distribution

Patchy distribution across Britain; more common in the west. Has been expanding its range in Scotland since 1990.


Pools and streams in wet heathland sites are favoured.

May be found resting low in heather at such sites.

Flight PeriodKeeled Skimmer
Adult Identification
  • Length: 40-44mm
  • Slim abdomen with a pronounced dorsal keel (dark line down the middle of the back)..
  • Yellow costa (leading wing vein).
  • Yellow or brown pterostigma (wing spots).
  • Pale ante-humeral stripes on the back of the thorax.
  • Male: blue body and blue-grey eyes.
  • Female: ochre abdomen and brown eyes.
  • Immature adults: similar to females. Often have yellow tinge to the wings.
  • At rest, the wings are often held forward.
Larval Information

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

Smaller than other Chasers and Skimmers: 17-23mm

Similar size to Darters but lacks their lateral abdominal spines and has smaller eyes.


  • Climate change: erratic rainfall.
  • Pollution
  • Abstraction and drainage.
Similar Species

May be confused with Black-tailed Skimmer and Scarce Chaser. The Keeled Skimmer can be distinguished by its:

  • paler wings spots.
  • yellow costa (leading wing vein).
  • pale antehumeral stripes on the back of the thorax.
  • black keel.