Currently viewing the category: "Dragonflies and Damselflies"
What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: European Hornet eating Dragonfly
Location: Westfield, NJ, USA
July 16, 2012 10:58 am
My own internet research led me from my initial suspicion of ”Cicada Killer” to a more accurate labeling of ”European Hornet.” I pulled into my driveway in Westfield, NJ, got out of the car, and heard a strange buzzing/flapping noise. The dragonfly was on its back, struggling, with the hornet clinging to its thorax. By the time I got batteries in the camera, the battle was over, and the hornet was butchering its catch, presumably taking pieces back to the hive.
I have more photos, and even videos of the carnage! If you’re interested, check out
This was an amazing event. I had to leave before the hornet was done with its work, and when I returned home an hour later, all that remained was all four wings of the dragonfly, attached to a tiny piece of thorax exoskeleton! I saved them in a tupperware.
Signature: Jordan

European Hornet kills Dragonfly

Hi Jordan,
This is not the first time we have received documentation of a European Hornet preying upon a Dragonfly.  Since the European Hornet is an introduced species and since we doubt there are many natural predators of Dragonflies in the insect world, the cumulative effects of such predation might have negative ramifications on our local Dragonfly populations.  Thanks for your excellent description of the events.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Libelludae– Common Whitetail–Plathemis lydia
Location: Niagara Region, Ontario
July 10, 2012 4:00 pm
Hello, Bugman
A while back I sent you a dragonfly for id. I just wanted to let you know that I was finally able to id it myself. I came across the id on your site while searching for what I thought was a completely different dragonfly. I have attached both the original picture I sent you (the female) with the second picture (male). The photos were taken at different locations several weeks apart, so alas, no buglove going on here!
The second photo is not as great as I didn’t have my zoom lens and wasn’t able to get very close.
Signature: Alison

Common Whitetail:  Immature Male

Hi Alison,
We agree with you having correctly identified these Dragonflies as Common Whitetails, but we disagree with your assessment that one is a female and the other a male.  We believe both examples are males of the species.  According to BugGuide:  “Males and females have different wing patterns … Immature males have the same body pattern as females but the same wing pattern as mature males”.  Both your individuals have the wing patterns of males.  Your photos are an excellent addition to our archive.

Common Whitetail: Mature Male

Thank you for the correction! I missed that detail. I’m only starting to id dragonflies and they prove far more difficult than butterflies.

We always have trouble with Dragonflies and we were thrilled to see an identification in your subject line.


What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Female Widow Skimmer Dragonfly
Location: Naperville, IL
June 25, 2012 11:21 pm
Hi Daniel~
I do believe this is a female widow skimmer, aka Libellula luctuosa, as she lacks the white bloom on the wings that characterizes the males. She rests in these photos on some Russian Sage and on delphinium.
All the best to you.
Signature: -Dori Eldridge

Widow Skimmer

Hi Dori,
We agree that this is a Widow Skimmer, but we cannot confirm that it is a female because according to BugGuide:  “Females and immature males have the same brown wing bands as the mature males, but not the whitish areas. Wings usually have a brown tip. A dorsal view of the abdomen shows a brown band at center with a yellow stripe running along each side.”

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Fragile Forktail Damselfly
Location: Albany, NY
May 12, 2012 8:14 pm
I was just able to identify my bug as a Fragile Forktail Damselfly. I didn’t see any pictures of this species on your site, so thought you might like it. It’s supposed to be fairly common on the East coast.
Signature: Naomi

Fragile Forktail Damselfly

Hi Naomi,
Thank you so much for sending us your photograph of a Fragile Forktail Damselfly,
Ischnura posita.  According to BugGuide the Fragile Forktail Damselfly can be identified because of the “Pale shoulder stripes resemble exclamation points—true of both sexes.”  The marks are clearly visible in your photograph.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Male Flame Skimmer?
Location: Hawthorne, California
May 12, 2012 4:44 pm
Hi Daniel,
Well, the bugs are back! After two Anna’s hummingbird nests (same mother) in the front this year and more than a few Black Headed Grosbeaks in back (still visiting and most unusual for here) – Marty spotted this dragonfly on the cigar plants in back. I think I have it correctly identified as a male Flame Skimmer (Libellula saturata). The shot of it’s underside is a bit washed out because it was in such heavy shade. Can you please confirm? I know you just love dragonfly id requests!
Signature: Thanks, Anna

Flame Skimmer

Hi Anna,
We are thrilled to get a new submission from you.  While we agree that this appears to be a Flame Skimmer,
Libellula saturata, we are more inclined to identify it as a female.  The BugGuide description on separating the sexes reads:  “males bright orange with amber color in the wings covering half the width of the wing, out to the nodus, and all the way to the rear of the hind wing. Females paler but still with some amber at least on the leading edge of the wing.”

Flame Skimmer

Hi Daniel,
Thanks very much and yes, I do see the difference between the male and female.  Should have known!  Hope all is well with you.  I’m glad to see the bugs back again.  The front feels so empty now that I don’t have hummer nests & little blind, bald babies to photograph.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Location: Maumelle, Arkansas
May 11, 2012 7:26 am
Hi Gentle teacher,
Last night this dragonfly was attracted to my porch light in Central Arkansas. This morning, he was on my back door, waiting for my camera. After a few minutes of pictures, his wings started moving, he washed his face and off he flew. What is he?
Signature: Martha

Possibly Swamp Darner

Hi Martha,
In our opinion, this looks like a Swamp Darner, Epiaeschna heros, or a closely related species.  According to BugGuide:  “An impressive dragonfly of southern wetlands.”

Head of a Swamp Darner


What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination