Odonates of Arkansas

Damselflies and Dragonflies

Dragonflies and damselflies are insects in the Order Odonata. Both groups are considered to be aquatic insects because the adults live near freshwater habitats (adult dragonflies are strong fliers, however, and may be found long distances from water) and their larval stage lives in the water. Adults are predatory and may feed on mosquitoes, gnats, and other insects, leading to a common name of "mosquito hawk." All odonates have membranous wings, and the bodies of most are long, slender, and often are of bright, metallic colors. Dragonflies and damselflies can be distinguished from one another by the position in which the wings are held when the insect is at rest. Dragonflies hold their wings out horizontally and most damselflies position the wings vertically when at rest. The bodies of damselflies also tend to be more slender than those of dragonflies.

Damselflies

Family Calopterygidae (Broad-winged Damselflies)

 

 

 

 

Ebony Jewelwing (Calopteryx maculata), male

Size: 4.6 - 5.6 cm (1.8 - 2.2 in.)

Description: The body of males is metallic green, and the wings are jet black. 

Ebony Jewelwing
Ebony Jewelwing Female

 

 

 

 

Ebony Jewelwing (Calopteryx maculata), female

Size: 4.6 - 5.6 cm (1.8 - 2.2 in.)

Description: Bodies of females are metallic but less so than males. White stigmas are located near the tips of the wings.

 American Rubyspot (Hetaerina americana), male

Size: 3.8 - 4.6 cm (1 1/2 - 1 4/5 in.)

Description: The abdomen of males is greenish-bronze
to dark brown, and a ruby red spot is located at the base
of the transparent wings. 

American Rubyspot male
American Rubyspot female

 

 

American Rubyspot (Hetaerina americana), female

Size: 3.8 - 4.6 cm (1 1/2 - 1 4/5 in.)

Description: Females have a greenish abdomen and a brown spot positioned at the base of the wings. 

Family Coenagrionidae (Pond Damsels)

 

 

 

 

 

Blue-ringed Dancer (Argia sedula), male

Photo: G. Harp

Blue-ringed Dancer (Argia sedula), male
Violet

 

 

 

 

 Violet Dancer (Argia fumipennis violacea), male

Distribution: statewide

Photo: G. Harp 

 

 

Springwater Dancer (Argia plana), male

Photo: G. Harp 

Springwater
Dusky

 

Dusky Dancer (Argia translata), male and female

Mated pair in tandem
Distribution: statewide

Photo: G. Harp 

Openwing Damsel (Chromagrion conditum), male

Uncommon
Distribution: spotty distribution, statewide

Photo: G. Harp 

Openwing
Skimming Bluet

Skimming Bluet (Enallagma germinatum), male

Uncommon
Distribution: statewide

Photos: G. Harp 

Double-striped Bluet (Enallagma basidens), male

Common
Distribution: statewide

Photo: G. Harp

 Double-striped Bluet
 Orange Bluet

 

 Orange Bluet (Enallagma signatum), male

Common
Distribution: statewide

Photo: G. Harp

 

 Rambur's Forktail (Ischnura ramburii), male

Photo: G. Harp
 

Rambur
Citrine

 

 

 Citrine Forktail (Ischnura hastata), male

Common
Distribution: statewide
 

 

Lilypad Forktail (Ischnura kellicotti), male

Distribution: Spotty distribution statewide

Photo: G. Harp

 

Lilypad
Fragile

 

 

 Fragile Forktail (Ischnura posita), male

Abundant
Distribution: all counties

Photo: G. Harp 

Family Lestidae (Spreadwings) - hold wings at 45° angle

Great Spreadwing (Archilestes grandis), female

Distribution: spotty distribution statewide

Photo: G. Harp 

Great Spreadwing
Southern Spreadwing

 

 

 

 Southern Spreadwing (Lestes australis), male

Distribution: spotty distribution statewide

Photo: G. Harp

 

 

 

 Elegant Spreadwing (Lestes inaequalis), male

Distribution: spotty distribution statewide

Photo: G. Harp 

Elegant Spreadwing

Dragonflies

Family Aeshnidae (Darners)

Springtime Darner (Basiaeschna janata), male

Distribution: streams, spotty distribution statewide

Photo: G. Harp

Springtime Darner
Cyrano Darner

Cyrano Darner (Nasiaeschna pentacantha), male

Distribution: lowland wetlands, spotty statewide

Photo: G. Harp

Family Cordulegastridae (Spiketails)

 

 

 

 

Arrowhead Spiketail (Cordulegaster obliqua)

Distribution: spotty distribution statewide

Photo: G. Harp

Arrowhead Spiketail

Family Gomphidae (Clubtails)

Interior Least Clubtail (Stylogomphus sigmastylus), male

Photo: G. Harp 

Interior Least Clubtail
Russet-tipped

Russet-tipped Clubtail (Stylurus plagiatus), male

Distribution: large rivers statewide

Photo: G. Harp 

Jade Clubtail (Arigomphus submedianus), male

Distribution: lowland wetlands, mostly Mississippi delta, Arkansas River Valley

Photo: G. Harp 

Jade Clubtail
Black-shouldered Spinyleg

Black-shouldered Spinyleg (Dromogomphus spinosus), male

Distribution: streams statewide

Photo: G. Harp

Flag-tailed Spinyleg (Dromogomphus spoliatus), male

Distribution: lakes, large ponds statewide

Photo: G. Harp 

Flag-tailed Spinyleg
Eastern Ringtail

Eastern Ringtail (Erpetogomphus designatus), male

Distribution: spotty distribution statewide

Photo: G. Harp 

Ashy Clubtail (Gomphus lividus), male

Uncommon
Distribution: spotty distribution, statewide

Photo: G. Harp 

Ashy Clubtail
Ozark Clubtail

Ozark Clubtail (Gomphus ozarkensis), male

Distribution: endemic to Ozark, Ouachita Mountains

Photo: G. Harp 

Cobra Clubtail (Gomphus vastus), male

Distribution: spotty distribution statewide

Photo: G. Harp 

Cobra Clubtail

Family Libellulidae (Skimmers)

Calico Pennant (Celithemis elisa)

Size: 3.0 cm (1.2 in.)

Description: The wing pattern is the primary characteristic used for identification of this species. Body markings are yellow, becoming red in males.

Calico Pennant
Halloween Pennant

Halloween Pennant (Celithemis eponina)

Size: 3.8 cm (1.5 in.)

Description: The orange wings patterned with black are a distinguishing trait of this species. The bodies of juveniles are marked with yellow.

Left Photos: G. Harp 

Halloween Pennant2

Eastern Pondhawk (Erythemis simplicicollis), female

Size: 4.3 cm (1.7 in.)

Description: Females are bright green with rectangular,
blackish markings on the abdomen. 

Eastern Pondhawk
Eastern Pondhawk2

Eastern Pondhawk (Erythemis simplicicollis), male

Photo: G. Harp

Eastern Pondhawk (Erythemis simplicicollis), mature male

Size: 4.3 cm (1.7 in.)

Description: The bodies of mature males are powder blue with white cerci located at the tip of the abdomen. The face is green. 

Eastern Pondhawk (Erythemis simplicicollis), mature male
Eastern Pondhawk (Erythemis simplicicollis), semimature male

Eastern Pondhawk (Erythemis simplicicollis), semimature male

Size: 4.3 cm (1.7 in.)

Description: Juvenile males are green and later become blue (the color change progresses from the abdomen toward the thorax). The semimature male shown in the photo above is mostly blue with some green remaining.

Blue Corporal (Ladona deplanata), male

Photo: G. Harp 

Blue Corporal
Eastern Spangled Skimmer

Eastern Spangled Skimmer (Libellula cyanea), male

Size: 4.3 cm (1.7 in.)

Description: Males are dark blue with a black face. Wings are marked by black and white stigmas located near the tips of the wings and by a black basal streak.

Distribution: common statewide
(Photo posed) 

Eastern Spangled Skimmer (Libellula cyanea), female

Size: 4.3 cm (1.7 in.)

Description: The wingtips of females are brown, and the face is tan. Markings on the body include a yellow diamond located in an anteriolateral position (to the front and side) on the thorax and a yellow, lateral abdominal stripe.

Distribution: common statewide
(Photo posed)

Eastern Spangled Skimmerfem
Twelve-spotted Skimmer

Twelve-spotted Skimmer (Libellula pulchella), male

Description: The wings of mature males are marked by twelve, brown spots, in addition to eight, white spots (females and immature males have the brown spots, but lack the white ones). The basal area of the hindwings in also whitish in coloration. Markings on the body females and immature males include a yellow stripe along the side of a brown abdomen.

Photo: G. Harp 

Widow Skimmer (Libellula luctuosa)

Size: 4.6 cm (1.8 in.)

Description: Distinguishing characteristics of males include white wing bands and a large black patch located at the base of the wings. The basal area of the wings of females also is black, and yellow stripes decorate the sides of the abdomen.

Right Photos: G. Harp 

Widow Skimmer (Libellula luctuosa)

Widow Skimmer (Libellula luctuosa)2
Yellow-sided Skimmer

Yellow-sided Skimmer (Libellula flavida), male

Description: Both males and females have gold markings on the sub-marginal, leading edge of the wings. The thorax of young males has yellow markings on the sides.

Photo: G. Harp 

Blue Dasher (Pachydiplax longipennis), male

Size: 2.5 - 4.3 cm (1.0 -1.7 in.)

Description: The following traits are characteristic of mature males: a white face, metallic green eyes, a black and yellow striped thorax, and a pale blue, tapered abdomen. Two black streaks cross an amber spot located at the base of the hindwings. The abdomen of females is short and blunt, and the hindwings lack black streaks.

(Photo posed) 

Blue Dasher (Pachydiplax longipennis), male
Wandering Glider (Pantala flavescens)

Wandering Glider (Pantala flavescens)

Size: 4.8 cm (1.9 in.)

Description: The yellow abdomen is tapered, and the wings are long and broad.
(Photo posed) 

Wandering Glider (Pantala flavescens), male

Photo: G. Harp
 

Wandering Glider (Pantala flavescens), male
 Common Whitetail (Plathemis lydia), male

Common Whitetail (Plathemis lydia), male

Size: 4.3 cm (1.7 in.)

Description: The abdomen of males is white. A wide, brown band is located at the center of the wings, and a small, white dot is positioned at the base of the wings. Juvenile males have a similar abdominal pattern to females.

Left Photos: G. Harp

 Common Whitetail (Plathemis lydia)

Common Whitetail (Plathemis lydia), female

Size: 4.3 cm (1.7 in.)

Description: The wings of females are decorated with brown spots at the base, center, and wingtips. Oblique, white dashes
mark the sides of the abdomen of females. 

Common Whitetail (Plathemis lydia), female
Blue-faced Meadowhawk (Sympetrum ambiguum)

Blue-faced Meadowhawk (Sympetrum ambiguum)

Size: 3.6 cm (1.4 in.)

Description: The forehead is non-metallic blue or green, the thorax is gray, and the legs are tan. The abdomen is mostly red in males and some females (brown in other females) and ringed with black. 

Yellow-legged Meadowhawk (Sympetrum vicinum)

Size: 3.3 cm (1.3 in.)

Description: The slender abdomen is pale red with a small amount of black. The forehead is red, and the legs are yellow to reddish-brown. The abdomen and forehead of juveniles is brown. 

Yellow-legged Meadowhawk (Sympetrum vicinum)
 Yellow-legged Meadowhawk (Sympetrum vicinum), male

 Yellow-legged Meadowhawk (Sympetrum vicinum), male

Photo: G. Harp

Four-spotted Pennant (Brachymesia gravida), male

Uncommon
Distribution: spotty distribution statewide

Photo: G. Harp 

Four-spotted Pennant (Brachymesia gravida), male
Black Saddlebags (Tramea lacerata), male

Black Saddlebags (Tramea lacerata), male

This specimen is teneral, i.e. recently emerged

Distribution: common statewide. Photo: G. Harp 

Family Macromiidae (Cruisers)

Stream Cruiser (Didymops transversa), male

Spring flier
Distribution: spotty distribution statewide

Photo: G. Harp

Stream Cruiser
red river

 River Cruiser (Macromia sp.)

Size: Up to 8.4 cm (3.3 in.)

Description: The head and thorax of River Cruisers (genus Macromia) reflect iridescent dark green or blue. Often, the base of the wings is shaded with brown. Yellow markings are present on the abdomen.
(Photo posed)

Royal River Cruiser (Macromia taeniolata), male

Photo: G. Harp 

Royal River Cruiser
Orange Shadowdragon

Orange Shadowdragon (Neurocordulia xanthosoma), male

Dusk flier
Distribution: spotty distribution statewide

Photo: G. Harp 

Gray Petaltail (Tachopteryx thoreyi)


Size: 7.6 cm (3.0 in.)


Description: This large, mostly gray dragonfly usually perches on tree trunks. The eyes are separated, and a long, narrow stigma is present near the tips of the wings.
Distribution: spotty distribution, bogs/spring seeps
(Right photo posed)

Bottom Photo: G. Harp 

Gray Petaltail
Gray Petaltail2

 
 
 
 
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