Bug of the Month July 2022: Widow Skimmers

Subject:  Widow Skimmer
Geographic location of the bug:  Campbell, Ohio
Date: 07/09/2022
Time: 09:59 AM EDT
Dear Readers,
You might not remember that Daniel, the Bugman, actually once posted numerous identification requests per day before disappearing from actively participating in this site.  Well, Daniel has had many changes in his personal life, including inheriting his family home in Northeast Ohio.  We hope this posting is a sign that Daniel will be returning to doing regular postings and once again attempting to identify the numerous requests that still come in daily, but first he has to remember how to log back into the incoming mailbox, so for now, we hope you enjoy these images of Widow Skimmers, Libellula luctuosa.
When Daniel first observed a dark insect fluttering, he thought it was a butterfly, but closer examination revealed the identification error.  Daniel suspects that the first sighting might have been the maiden flight for a newly emerged adult that was just learning to use its wings.  The next day its flight seemed much more confident.

This Widow Skimmer was first sighted fluttering in the garden.

Daniel has observed what he thought was the same Dragonfly for a month, and this Friday he realized there were at least two Widow Skimmers in the garden, and that they most likely emerged from the small pond (actually a plastic child’s swimming pool that has held water for over 40 years in the back yard and is full of water lilies).  Daniel watched the two Widow Skimmers flying in a Skimmer dance about the garden.  Daniel also learned on the University of Milwaukee Field Station site that “Widows are so named because they oviposit without the protection of their mates (one source reports that luctuosa means sorrowful and compares their wing color to mourning crepe). They perch down in the tall grasses and fly up unexpectedly as the BugLady explores, spotting her long before she spots them.”

Widow Skimmer


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