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

Subject: Female Blue Dasher (Pachydiplax longipennis)
Location: Naperville, IL
August 21, 2012 9:46 pm
Hi Daniel~
I do believe this is a female blue dasher, from its appearance, its prevalence in Illinois, and its habit of perching, flying away, and then returning to the exact spot to perch again, which I understand is common of skimmers in the Libellulidae family of dragonflies. This seems to be the time of year when dragonflies abound in these parts.
All the best!
Signature: -Dori Eldridge

Female Blue Dasher

Hi Dori,
It is always a pleasure getting your lovely photos.  We agree that this appears to be a female Blue Dasher and it is a perfect match to this image on BugGuide.  The description from BugGuide is:  “A small blue dragonfly with a white face, a black tip to the abdomen, and a black-and-yellow-striped thorax. Females are recognized by the narrow yellow parallel stripes on the abdomen. Both sexes have an amber patch at the base of each hindwing. Males develop a sky-blue (or Carolina-blue) abdomen when they approach maturity.”  Your close-up provided an excellent view of the white face.

Female Blue Dasher

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Strange insect (or exoskeleton?) in the Okanagan
Location: Shushwap, British Columbia, Canada
August 10, 2012 2:06 am
Hello Bugman,
I’ve been following your site for a while, but I’ve never needed to submit an inquiry as I live somewhere too cold for the more interesting species of insects. We just recently went on vacation and found this interesting bug perching upside down on some rocks by the lake. We first thought it was a spider, but then realized it only had 6 legs.
After some further investigation, as well as finding another one stuck in a spider web, we came to realize that it was either no longer alive or was simply the exoskeleton of a still living creature. Just wondering if you might be able to identify it for me? It’s been bugging me (hee hee).
Signature: Kate

Dragonfly Exuvia

Hi Kate,
This is the exuvia of a Dragonfly.  The most frequently submitted exuviae or shed exoskeletons we receive for identification are those of Cicadas, though Dragonflies are a close second.  In both cases, the nymphs live in dramatically different habitats than the adults.  Dragonfly nymphs are known as naiads and they are aquatic.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

rwandan dragonfly at lake kivu 2
location:  Lake Kivu, Rwanda, Africa
August 3, 2012
hi daniel, can you determine the species of this colorful insect? thanks! clare.

Magenta Dragonfly from Rwanda

Hi Clare,
Your photo is lovely as is this magenta Dragonfly.  Sadly, we cannot seem to locate our copy of the Field Guide to Rwandan Dragonflies on the book shelf.  That was a joke.  We often have tremendous difficulty distinguishing our numerous North American species from one another since so many species resemble one another.  We couldn’t find any color matches on Grag Lasley’s African Dragonflies and Damselflies Index.  There are nearly 5000 photos posted to Africa Dragonfly and 908 species are listed and classified, but we cannot envision having enough time to click through them all.  We typed dragonfly and Africa into a search engine and we were surprised to find a close visual match, but alas, it led us to a Texas website with an online article entitled Aerial Acrobats, but there is no information on the species in the photo, or even a location where the photo was taken, though the Dragonflies in the show are supposed to be Texas species.  We are sorry that we cannot offer anything more concrete.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: band -winged meadowhawk?
Location: Auburn, NJ
July 22, 2012 9:34 am
I’m finding this dragonfly more difficult to identify, as the red (female?) seems to get the most attention in the pics I’ve found to compare to. I think of aviator sunglasses when I see this kind of banding, know I have seen them each summer the past few years.
Still not sure though…but best guess?
Signature: Creek Keeper

What’s That Dragonfly???

Dear Creek Keeper,
We often have trouble with Dragonfly identifications.  It is the male Band Winged Meadowhawk that is red, not the female.  In our opinion, the abdomen markings do not look correct for this to be a female Band Winged Meadowhawk based on BugGuide images.  Perhaps one of our readers will be able to assist in this identification.

Appreciate your taking the time to look. I don’t feel so bad if even you have trouble.  Seems there are variations on every theme, so not so easy to sort out.  Plus, I have to get lucky enough to get a decent shot for details you just can’t see when they’re on the wing.  Which is most of the time.
I had trouble with this one last year too, so will keep trying.

Update with new photo
Daniel, I thought I had identified a different species on my own over the weekend, didn’t want to ask too many requests. But compare these two,attached pics if you have time, and tell me if you think  Widow skimmer  might be right instead of meadow hawk?…
going buggy in South Jersey,
Creek Keeper

Possibly Widow Skimmer

Hello again Val,
We actually considered the Widow Skimmer, but the coloration of the body didn’t seem right on the first image you sent since it doesn’t have yellow stripes.  Perhaps it is a male that is just beginning to turn pruinose.  Here is the description from Bugguide:  “Mature males have a large basal area of brown on each of the four wings, and each wing also has a whitish area roughly at the middle. Their brown bodies become increasingly pruinose (whitish) as they get older.  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.”

Thanks again Daniel.   Dragonflies are just so difficult, the differences are subtle but maybe if I keep taking pictures eventually we’ll track them down. And if nothing else, maybe the pics will help someone else with the same dilemma down the road.   It just gets a bit overwhelming for a layperson to navigate the big sites, though I think I have looked at every pic on bug guide at this point?  Seemed like.
So, there’s a NJ dragonfly site, I’ll put a query in there. Though not sure they will respond, seems I’ve tried before. Appreciate your taking the time to answer. I’ll let you know if I can get it figured out.
In the meantime, my  pet name for this one is Top Gun. Looks like he’s wearing aviator sunglasses, right?  ha

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: eastern amberwing dragonfly
Location: Auburn, NJ
July 22, 2012 8:34 am
Hi Bugman,
First saw these hanging out on my pepper plants. I think must be a male Eastern Amberwing dragonfly.
Would you agree?
They are much smaller than some of the other types that frequent my place, and their color really makes them stand out from the crowd. But you gotta love that face!
Signature: Creek Keeper

Eastern Amberwing

Hi Creek Keeper,
We agree with you that this is an Eastern Amberwing,
Perithemis tenera.  The Dragonflies and Damselflies of New Jersey website you cited states:  “Our only small (some might say tiny) amber-winged dragonfly.  Females are superficially similar to Halloween Pennant, Calico Pennant, and Painted Skimmer; all are much larger.”  According to images on BugGuide, there is sexual dimorphism and only the male has the amber wings.

Thanks for confirming.  I’ll look for the females now.  Dragonflies are everywhere I look these days. Had a white tail land on me the other day, not sure who was more surprised.  Today a really tiny one was sort of right up in my face.  Fascinating creatures.

Update with new photo
Oh, and just to return past favors, I’ve added another eastern amber wing, but (maybe?)  this time the female, since her wings not entirely amber like the male one I sent you previous.
going buggy in South Jersey,
Creek Keeper

Eastern Amberwing Female

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