Currently viewing the category: "Dragonflies and Damselflies"
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Zebra Dragonfly/Moth?
Location: Southwestern Pennsylvania (near Monongahela river)
August 8, 2011 4:30 pm
Found this nifty looking bug outside of my house – he was already comatose when I came upon him, so i put a quarter by him for size comparison and took some pictures… Thanks!
Signature: KatieC

Male Common Whitetail

Hi Katie,
Your Dragonfly is a male Common Whitetail.  Like many Dragonflies, this is a sexually dimorphic species because only the males have the white abdomen, and the wing patterns of the sexes are also different.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Cicada Killer Carnage!
Location: Milton, DE
August 7, 2011 9:34 pm
Hello again Bugman!!
On our recent vacation to Delaware, we also were lucky enough to catch this awesome bug on bug carnage, which we think is a Cicada Killer making a meal of a dragon fly. We also took some video of it since my boyfriend thinks these bugs are absolutely awesome. Poor dragonfly had his head ripped clean off!
We were wondering why it went after a dragonfly, however. Perhaps the coloring being close to that of the cicada made it confused? Or do they regularly snack on other bugs?
Thanks again!!
Signature: Bruce and Ren

European Hornet Kills Dragonfly

Dear Bruce and Ren,
You have mistaken a European Hornet,
Vespa crabro, for a Cicada Killer, which explains why the prey in your Food Chain images is not a Cicada.  According to BugGuide, they are:  “Predatory on other insects, used to feed young. Also girdle twigs to drink sap.”  We cannot explain why the Dragonfly was killed and decapitated, and then abandoned.  Insects are not prone to killing for the sake of killing.  They either defend themselves or kill to eat or to provide food for their offspring.  We wonder why the European Hornet killed and decapitated the Dragonfly and then abandoned it.  Possibly it was disturbed by the camera.  Perhaps one of our readers will have the time to identify the species of dragonfly.

Decapitated Dragonfly

After browsing your site for a bit we started to suspect our bug may have been a hornet when we saw the coloring wasn’t quite right for a cicada killer. We’re glad to have our suspicions confirmed. We were surprised, though, as the hornet was flying around us while we were throwing a frisbee, and did not seem in the slightest aggressive, even when we got close to take pictures (and we were close enough to hear the crunching! Yuck!). Still an awesome sight we were glad to stumble upon. I forgot to mention, that particular bug was seen at the Prime Hook Wildlife Reserve in Milton, DE. Great place to visit. Thanks again for your help!
Bruce and Ren


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Pantala flavescens?
Location: Hawthorne, CA
July 28, 2011 2:55 pm
I think I have this beauty correctly identified. Will you please confirm?
Signature: Thanks, Anna Carreon

Globe Skinner, Anna believes

Hi Anna
Just today we were asked by a journalist named Marian with High Country News which insect order gives us the most difficult time with identifications.  Without even flinching we blurted out Dragonflies.  They are sexually dimorphic, meaning the generally drabber females often look nothing like the males.  Additionally, the males go through color transformations between the time they first emerge and the time they are fully sexually mature.  We are not going to research your request tonight, but we are posting your letter and photo.  We will give this our best shot tomorrow.  The lighting and detail on the profile shot are stunning.

Globe Skimmer, according to Anna

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Is it dangerous?
Location: Massachusetts
July 12, 2011 3:47 am
Hi! While one of my friends was out fishing this bug ended up on his neck. When he went to get it off his neck it had stung his finger and left 2 holes with a little blood. He says it doesn’t hurt and I’m just wondering if yoou could help us identify it?
Signature: Just wondering

Dragonfly Naiad

Dear Just wondering,
This is the aquatic larva of a Dragonfly, known as a naiad.  We have not received any previous reports of a person being bitten by a Dragonfly Naiad, but considering the anatomy of its mouth including an extendable mandible, this is entirely possible.  Here is how the University of Kentucky Entomology website describes the eating habits of a Dragonfly Naiad:  “The aquatic naiads feed voraciously on minnows, tadpoles, aquatic insects, and other small, live prey.  Dragonfly naiads are primarily ambush predators: they find a strategic spot on an underwater leaf or under a rock.  When a victim gets close, the naiad snags it with harpoon-like extendable jaws.”  Dragonflies are not venomous, and the bite, though it caused some discomfort, is not dangerous.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Bug in our Pool
Location: Mulvane, Kansas
July 8, 2011 6:13 am
Hello Bugman, our pool was drained six weeks ago and after many delays with our pool guy we still have an empty pool. Actually, not totally empty, about 8 inches of green water in the deep end. A few weeks ago, we started seeing these tiny bugs underwater that were sort of clearish with gray markings. Then yesterday I noticed they had come out of the water into the shallow end and were mating! I am totally grossed out by the whole situation and am worried my yard is going to be overrun with these things and what the heck are they. I’ve searched your site and they seem waterbuggish, but not quite. Please help.
Signature: Thanks, Linda and Steve

Dragonfly Exuviae

Bug in Pool (prior email
Location: Mulvane, KS
July 8, 2011 6:55 am
Dear What’s that Bug, believe it or not, but I’ve been looking for weeks before submitting my request to you. Then, this morning went back out to my pool to see if there was anything new with my bug and there was – it turned into a dragon fly! So, I’ve self-identified, and attached pics for your viewing pleasure. Guess they weren’t mating, but eating each other or just hanging out, who knows. Thanks again. (BTW, I feel so much better – dragonflies are nice) :)
Signature: Linda and Steve

Newly Metamorphosed Globe Skimmer Dragonfly

Dear Linda and Steve,
We are happy that you managed to self-identify the Dragonfly Exuviae that you found near your pool, and we are pleased that you were lucky enough to photograph a newly metamorphose adult.  We have considerable difficulty with Dragonfly species identifications, and we don’t want to take the time to attempt that at the moment since the sun is up in Los Angeles and we want to put in some Swiss Chard and other vegetables before it gets too hot.  Perhaps one of our readers will be able to supply a species name for us.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Tricky Bug ID Request
Location: Wekiva River, Orlando, Florida
July 7, 2011 10:59 pm
Hi there! My husband found this eviscerated bug while kayaking in Wekiva Springs. He grabbed it for me, as I am an amateur entomologist and love to collect and identify insects. I’m stumped! The insect was on the underside of a lilly pad, hanging from a web. I’’m assuming a spider had a delicious lunch! I tried to identify it, but to no avail. It seems like it’s been dead for some time, and there are no wings left. It is about 3 inches long, and the body is about 3/8” wide. It has 6 legs. I don’t know if there’s enough left to make a guess as to what it is. I was thinking some kind of dragonfly. I would really appreciate any guidance you might be able to provide.
Signature: Tiffany

Clubtail Dragonfly Exuvia

Hi Tiffany,
This is the Exuvia of a Dragonfly, though we are not sure which species.  An Exuvia if the cast off skin left behind when an insect or other arthropod molts.  The immature Dragonfly is an aquatic nymph known as a naiad.  When it nears maturity, it will climb out of the water onto a reed or other plant, or sometimes the side of a dock, and there is will molt for the final time.  After its wings expand, dry and harden, it flies away leaving the “eviscerated” Exuvia behind. In your lateral view, the opening where the crack in the exoskeleton occurred allowing the winged adult to wriggle free is plainly visible in the thoracic region.  Your ventral view gives a nice view of the extendable lower mandible that the naiad uses to capture its aquatic prey.  The only Exuvia we receive more identification requests for than the Dragonfly is that of the Cicada.

Dragonfly Exuvia

Wow! That’s amazing! I didn’t even think about that. Makes sense, I watch my caterpillars molt all the time. I can’t even begin to tell you how long I searched that. Thank you so much for your help! I had made a friendly bet with my husband about what insect it was, so now I get a nice “I told you so!”.  I really appreciate your help on this. And to think I was worried that it would be a pain for you to id!
Gratefully yours,

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination