Currently viewing the category: "Dragonflies and Damselflies"
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.

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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

spangled skimmer
Location: Andover, New Jersey
July 3, 2011 11:18 am
This gorgeous dragonfly had me stumped. Although I live in northwestern New Jersey, I use Kurt Mead’s excellent Dragonflies of the North Woods as my field guide; there’s just no good dragonfly book for the Northeast/Mid-Atlantic. So at first, I thought this slaty-blue d’fly was a slaty skimmer. But then I realized, with some creative googling, that this species with stigma both black and white is a spangled skimmer, Libellula cyanea, a species not in Mead’s book. The white part of the stigma causes this d’fly to have a lovely shimmering quality to its flight.
Signature: Jean LeBlanc

Spangled Skimmer

Hi Jean,
Thanks for doing the laborious research toward identifying this male Spangled Skimmer.  Upon checking BugGuide, we agree with your identification.  We are especially appreciative because we know how challenging Dragonfly identification can be, because of sexual dimorphism as well as intermediary coloration patterns of adults.  Though we have not seen it, if Jeffrey Glassberg’s book Dragonflies Through Binoculars North America is half as good as the Butterflies Through Binoculars books he has written, it is well worth the expense.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Neon Skimmer? (Libellula croceipennis)
Location: Naperville, IL
June 30, 2011 11:18 am
Hello there!
I captured these images last July(2010) of what I think is a male neon skimmer sitting atop a tomato cage. He certainly lives up to his name. This amazingly beautiful creature sat there for 10 minutes while I snapped all kinds of closeups, barely twitching. Then he flew off. Thank you for hosting this amazing site. I could spend hours perusing it and admiring all the astounding photos. Best regards,
Signature: Dori Eldridge

Western Meadowhawk

Hi Dori,
The Neon Skimmer is a western species, and we disagree with your assessment, but alas, we don’t have an alternative.  Dragonfly identifications are very confusing for us, and we would prefer that someone with more experience identify the species.  We have been looking at possibilities on BugGuide to no avail though we do agree that it is most likely in the Skimmer family Libellulidae, which is very well represented on BugGuide.  Then, as we were about to post, we tried a last ditch effort and did a web search for “red dragonfly Illinois” and we found the Field Museum Common Dragonflies and Damselflies of the Chicago Region website, and there was your Western Meadowhawk,
Sympetrum semicinctum.  A cross check on BugGuide satisfied us that the identification was correct, but considers the species to be the Band-Winged Meadowhawk.

Western Meadowhawk

Thank you!  Goodness, living in the midst of a large prairie preserve, you’d think I would have jumped on the Meadowhawk genus from the start and noted the geographical un-likelihood of a neon skimmer.  And thank you for the awesome Field Museum link – I’ve never seen it before.  You are wonderful, wonderful!  Regards,

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Male Pondhawk of some type?
Location: Raleigh Municipal Rose Garden, NC
June 27, 2011 2:23 pm
Greetings! My husband took this extreme closeup of what looks to be a male Eastern Pondhawk, except that the ’back’ is black. Is it a different version of a Pondhawk maybe? It was taken June 26, 2011 at the Rose Garden in Raleigh NC – there is a small goldfish pond with native plants where it probably lives & breeds.
Love your site! Take care…
Signature: looks but does not touch

Blue Dasher or Not??

We sometimes have a difficult time correctly identifying Dragonflies.  We cannot say for certain that it is an Eastern Pondhawk based on the variations presented on BugGuide.  Perhaps one of our readers will be able to confirm the identity of this beautiful Dragonfly.

Correction: Blue Dasher
June 30, 2011 11:38 am
I am by no means an expert, but I suspect the male dragonfly whose id you’re unsure about is a male Blue Dasher. The light-colored face, darker thorax (possibly with stripes that can’t be seen from this angle), and the smoky coloration on the wings distinguish it. I believe the obelisking posture is very common among Blue Dashers as well (though many dragonflies do it).
This photo from Bugguide looks like a good match.
Signature: Susan B.

Thanks Susan,
We agree that the Blue Dasher,
Pachydiplax longipennis, seems like a much likelier identification.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination