Can Dragonflies Walk? Unraveling the Mystery

Dragonflies are fascinating insects known for their remarkable agility and speed when flying. With their large, multifaceted eyes and long, slim bodies, these predators play a vital role in controlling the population of smaller insects such as mosquitoes and flies. However, one question that might intrigue people is whether dragonflies can walk or not.

Surprisingly, despite having six legs, dragonflies cannot walk effectively. Their legs are primarily designed for catching prey during flight and perching on surfaces. Since their legs are oriented towards the front of their body, it makes walking cumbersome and inefficient for them.

By focusing their energy on efficient flying, dragonflies have evolved into highly specialized predators. Just like hummingbirds, they can hover, fly sideways, upside down, and even backwards, making them skilled and versatile hunters in their environment.

Dragonflies: An Overview

300 Million Years of Evolution

Dragonflies have a remarkable history, dating back 300 million years. They existed before dinosaurs, and their ancient fossils indicate massive, 3-foot wingspans.

Order Odonata and Species Diversity

Dragonflies belong to the Order Odonata, which also includes their close relatives, damselflies. This order has a great level of species diversity, with over 5,000 known species worldwide.

Anatomy and Vision

A key feature of dragonflies is their compound eyes, which provide them with excellent vision. Their anatomy also includes bristly legs for catching prey and powerful jaws.

Features of Dragonflies:

  • Large compound eyes
  • Bristly legs
  • Powerful jaws
  • Agile and fast flyers

Comparison Table: Dragonflies vs. Damselflies

Feature Dragonflies Damselflies
Eyes Large, compound eyes Similar, but usually smaller
Legs Bristly legs for catching prey Slender legs, less bristly
Wings Two pairs of wings, usually broader Two pairs of wings, generally narrower and more delicate
Flight Fast and agile fliers Slower and more fluttery flight

Dragonflies are fascinating insects, with their ancient history, diverse species, and unique anatomy. Their incredible vision, agility, and adaptability have all contributed to their lasting presence on Earth.

Dragonfly Flight and Movement

Wings and Flight Capabilities

Dragonflies have two sets of wings, the forewings and hindwings, both independently controlled, enabling incredible flying capabilities. Key features include:

  • Direct flight muscles: attached to the wings, allowing for precise control
  • Indirect flight muscles: responsible for wing flapping

Agility and Speed

Dragonflies are known for their exceptional agility and ability to fly at high speeds. Notable aspects:

  • Top speed: up to 37 miles per hour
  • Quick recovery: can roll 180 degrees in just 200 milliseconds

Comparing Dragonflies and Hummingbirds:

Trait Dragonfly Hummingbird
Top Speed 37 miles per hour 34 miles per hour
Hovering Yes Yes
Sideways Flight Yes No
Upside-down Flight Yes No
Backwards Flight Yes Yes
360-degree Spin Yes No

Perching and Hovering

Dragonflies can hover like hummingbirds and perch effortlessly on objects. They exhibit:

  • Six legs: used for perching and catching prey
  • Unique maneuverability: can fly sideways, upside-down, spin 360 degrees on axis
  • Hovering: allows them to “freeze” mid-flight for moments

Can Dragonflies Walk?

Leg Structure and Function

Dragonflies have six legs that are specifically adapted for perching and not for walking. The legs are long, slender, and covered in bristles which help them to catch prey midair. The prothoracic legs, or front pair, play a crucial role in maintaining balance while perched.

  • Six legs for perching, not walking
  • Bristled legs help catch prey
  • Prothoracic legs aid in balance

Constraints in Walking and Locomotion

Due to their leg structure, dragonflies are not efficient walkers on land. They have limited locomotion abilities, mainly using their legs to grab and hold onto surfaces when they need to rest. For example, they might rest on a branch or a leaf in between their hunting sessions.

  • Limited locomotion abilities
  • Use legs for grabbing surfaces

Adaptations for Hunting and Feeding

Dragonflies are expert hunters, primarily feeding on flying insects such as mosquitoes, flies, and wasps. Their aerial hunting success is attributed to their agile flight capabilities: hovering, flying sideways or upside-down, and flying backward. These hunting adaptations make walking unnecessary for them.

  • Expert aerial hunters
  • Agile flight capabilities
  • No need for walking

Comparison Table: Dragonflies VS Typical Walkers

Dragonflies Typical Walkers
Six legs for perching Adapted legs for efficient walking
Limited locomotion abilities Better balance and movement on land
Expert aerial hunters May not be strong fliers
Agile flight capabilities Less agile in aerial hunting

Dragonfly Life Cycle and Ecology

Life Stages: From Egg to Adult

Dragonflies are insects and their life cycle consists of three stages: egg, nymph (larval stage), and adult.

  • Eggs: Laid in or near water, they develop and hatch into nymphs.
  • Nymphs: The larval stage lives underwater and undergoes several molting phases as they grow.
  • Adults: After the final molting, they leave the water and become flying, adult dragonflies.

During the nymph stage, dragonflies are aquatic ambush predators with gills and use their mandibles to catch prey. They cannot walk but are excellent swimmers.

Aquatic Habitats and Migration

Dragonflies live in a variety of aquatic habitats, such as streams, wetlands, and lakes. Some species, like green darners and globe skimmers, are known for their long-distance migration. These migrations often involve large swarms traveling to specific breeding and feeding grounds.

Role in Ecosystems and Conservation Efforts

Adult dragonflies play crucial ecosystem roles. Their predatory abilities help control insect populations, particularly mosquitoes. They are also prey for other animals, like small fish and birds.

Conserving dragonflies is essential for maintaining healthy aquatic ecosystems. Conservation efforts involve monitoring and protecting their habitats and ensuring clean water sources.

Features Dragonflies Mosquitoes
Habitat Aquatic Aquatic
Life stage Egg, nymph, adult Egg, larva, pupa, adult
Mobility Nymphs cannot walk Larvae can swim
Predatory ability Expert ambush predators N/a

Dragonflies in Folklore and Culture

Myths and Stories

Dragonflies, known for being ambush predators and their lightning speed, have captivated human imagination for centuries. In numerous cultures, they are associated with stories and myths that showcase their unique place in nature. For example, Native American legends often describe dragonflies as swift and skilled, capable of outmaneuvering other insects in the air.

Symbolism

Beyond their roles in myths, dragonflies also carry symbolic meanings in various cultures:

  • In Japanese culture, they symbolize strength, victory, and agility, often seen as a symbol of good fortune.
  • In Native American cultures, they are viewed as symbols of change, transformation, and self-realization.

Comparing Symbolism in Different Cultures

Culture Symbolism
Japanese Strength, Victory, Agility
Native American Change, Transformation, Self-realization

These cultural interpretations of dragonflies stem from their ability as mobile and fast flyers and their long history in the natural world, dating back to the Carboniferous period. The fascination with dragonflies has led to their incorporation into various art forms, such as pottery, paintings, and literature.

In some instances, dragonflies have also been associated with darker or more negative connotations. For example, in certain European folklore, dragonflies were considered the “devil’s needles” for their appearance and swift, darting movements.

Despite the varied interpretations of dragonflies in folklore and culture, they continue to play an important role as symbols, often reflecting the qualities of speed, agility, and change that they exhibit in the natural world.

Reader Emails

Over the years, our website, whatsthatbug.com has received hundreds of letters and some interesting images asking us about these insects. Scroll down to have a look at some of them.

Letter 1 – Aquatic Naiad

 

Nursery aquarium bug help …
Hi,
I have a nursery tropical aquarium for raising infant fish but have just discovered a bug approx 1cm long. I have attached some (not best quality) images and hope you can assist in its identifiaction. I have searched the web and so far come up with nothing. Kindest regards
Darren Boxer, South Wales, UK

Hi Darren,
We are not sure if this is an aquatic Hemipteran, or an aquatic Naiad, the immature form of a Dragonfly or similar insect. We suspect it is a Naiad. Clearer photos would help. It was probably introduced on plant material. Both Hemipterans and Naiads will eat baby fish.
.

Letter 2 – Bald Faced Hornet captures Dragonfly

 

bald faced hornet
Hi again!
So I finally looked in the right place and found images that make me think this must have been a bald faced hornet. I’m not quite as thorough as I’d thought. Or as observant as I’d thought. Looking a little more closely, I see shamefully little resemblance between my images and the cicada killers. I’m keeping my day job! I’m the one who’d sent larger versions of these old images of the hornet and it’s prey on a window pane, by the way: I still didn’t see any reference to ones that were quite so large or that they’d catch something as big as a dragonfly, but there is mention of them catching insects to feed their larvae. Those dragonfly meals must be what makes those hornets of the Canadian Rockies grow so big. I have to say again, like everyone who’s posted on your website, I love your website! I also really appreciate your respect for life and the balance of nature. And congratulations on the successes of your students! Eventually,
Brian

Hi Brian,
Thanks for resending your images to us. Your identification of the Bald Faced Hornet seems accurate. Readers who desire more information should check out BugGuide.

Letter 3 – Australian Emperor Dragonflies Mating

 

Aussie Giants Laying Eggs
Hi Guys,
Well its spring in Australia from today and snapped these Australian Giant Dragonflys depositing eggs. Hope you like it. Taken on my property on the Gold Coast, Queensland. 1st September 2007. regards,
Trevor Jinks
Australia

Hi again Trevor,
Thanks for sending your photo of mating Dragonflies our way. We expect the amount of email we receive from Australia should be increasing now that spring is near.

Correction: Sat, Feb 21, 2009 at 1:18 AM
Good morning,
If I may, it is probably the Australian Emperor (Hemianax papuensis).
I hope this helps,
Renaud, Switzerland

Letter 4 – Bug of the Month: September 2008 – Golden-Silk Spider Eating Large Dragonfly

 

(08/29/2008) Golden-Silk Spider Eating Large Dragonfly – Palm Beach County – Florida
Hello Purveyors of Bug Identifications,
First – thanks for providing such an educational website. I use it quite a bit while working for the Palm Beach County Department of Environmental Resources Management. We oversee the protection of thousands of acres of wildlands and one of my numerous jobs is to create trail guides/publications for these properties. This means I need to know what sorts of creatures roam the woodlands – and since I work in the warm, wet climate of South Florida, that means lots of bugs! I am sending you a picture of a female golden-silk spider enjoying a light repast of dragonfly. This photos was taken at the Delray Oaks Natural Area in Delray Beach, Florida. Note, I believe the small spider in the upper right corner is a male. He seems to be waiting his turn at the dinner table – probably smart considering the huge size discrepancy between the two. If he is not careful, he may be dessert! Keep up the great work!
Ann Mathews
Senior Environmental Analyst
Palm Beach County

Hi Ann,
Your letter came at the perfect time to be selected as the Bug of the Month for September as well as being cross referenced in the Food Chain and Bug Love. Golden Silk Spiders, Nephila clavipes, have pronounced sexual dimorphism, with the female sometime being 100 times the mass of the diminutive male. Golden Silk Spiders have extremely strong silk, and attempts have been made to use it for fabric, but this is far too expensive to be practical. Golden Silk Spiders are also called Banana Spiders and can be found in the southeastern US and south all the way to Argentina.

Anxious Comment
OK, this is just sad
I’m anxiously awaiting the September Bug of the Month…does that mean I’m addicted?
Misty Doy

Hi Misty,
We usually post the new Bug of the Month on the last day of the month even if we have selected it a few days earlier. It will be live shortly.

Letter 5 – Black Saddlebags Dragonfly

 


I found this bug on my patio, nothing to show reference to size. It was about 3 to 3 1/2 nose to tail and the wing span was about 5 inches. Just curious what it could be. I live in Wisconsin, have never seen this before.Thanks,
Elaine

Hi Elaine,
Your species of Dragonfly, Tramea lacerata, is commonly called the Black Saddlebags. Someone must have seen the resemblace between the black markings on the wings and saddlebags on a horse. Interestingly, in Spanish, a Dragonfly is commonly called Caballo de Diablo, or Devil’s Horse.

Letter 6 – California Darner

 

Possibly California darner?
June 24, 2010
Took this photo 22 June, late morning, in my backyard near Edmonds, WA. Large dragonfly was clinging to unripe blueberries for quite awhile, cooperated as I took several photos (have attached the best one). After I stepped away it suddenly took off and I enjoyed watching for several minutes as it looped and dove in roughly repeated patterns around that end of yard, many times passing within a foot or so of me. It made passes everytime it saw an insect, large or small (while I cheered — I have an organic garden and need all the help I can get), altho I never saw it catch anything. Perhaps some were too small for me to see. It seems similar to pictures I’ve seen of dragonflies in the Darner family…I looked in Bug Guide and California darner (Rhionaeschna californ ica) was the closest, with brownish eyes, but would like confirmation, if possible. I recently sent the probable ID on the sea cucumber (echinoderm). It was nice to be helping instead of asking, for a change! Love your site and bugID service, have turned my NatureGeek friends on to it!
Sincerely, Dee
Edmonds, Washington State

California Darner

Hi Dee,
Thanks for the Sea Cucumber assistance.  We believe you are correct that this lovely dragonfly is a California Darner, Rhionaeschna californica, based on images posted to BugGuide.  Thank you for your very informational letter.

Letter 7 – Black Saddlebags Dragonfly

 

dragonfly like thing.
Location:  Greenpoint, Brooklyn
August 26, 2010 2:10 pm
August 26th, 9-10AM
Sunny day after a previously rainy one.
From a distance it looked like a squished flower but as I got closer I noticed the wings and the vivid colors which did not photographed as bright.
It was very still on the pavement for awhile and did not fly away when I touched it.
doe

Black Saddlebags

Hi doe,
The reason you think the Black Saddlebags is like a Dragonfly is because it is a Dragonfly.  You may read more about the Black Saddlebags,
Tramea lacerata, by going to BugGuide.

Letter 8 – Bitten by a Dragonfly Naiad

 

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.

Letter 9 – Bug Art: Quilled Green Darner

 

Location: Dearborn, Michigan
January 24, 2012 7:20 pm
I just thought you’d enjoy my interpretation of a Green Darner in quilling. Really enjoy WTB.
Signature: cathyort

Quilled Green Darner

Hi cathyort,
Thanks so much for sending us an example of your insect inspired art.  We are inspired to create a new Bug Art category and we have to search our archive for a few other examples of sculpture and tattoos we have received over the years to include there.  Daniel also makes insect inspired quilts in his free time.  Perhaps he will post some examples.

Letter 10 – Alaskan Dragonfly: Possibly Western Flying Adder

 

Subject: Western Flying Adder? (also, dragonfly eyes)
Location: Fairbanks Alaska
July 21, 2013 10:53 am
Thank you again for your wonderful site. I have spent way too much time, following paths of links through your interesting pages. But that isn’t why I’m writing.
It seems that we have just a could of kinds of dragonflies that we see frequently around our house, so I thought it might be nice to be able to identify them. Here is a photo of one of them that my son managed to have perch on his hand. From what I could find I thought it might be a Western Flying Adder (Cordulegaster dorsalis) but I’m NOT an expert yet!
The other thing that I think is really cool about several of these photos is the way that you can see hexagonal reflections on the eyes. That isn’t just in the photos – we saw that in ”real life” too. Is that because of the hexagonal structure of the ommatidium that the eyes are made up of?
Signature: Mother and Son Bug Fans

Dragonfly
Dragonfly

Dear Mother and Son Bug Fans,
Thanks for your compliment.  Alas, we often have difficulty with species identifications for Dragonflies, but this might be
Cordulegaster dorsalis which BugGuide calls a Pacific Spiketail.  We like the name Western Flying Adder, but we don’t know where you learned that name.  Perhaps one of our knowledgeable readers can assist with this species identification.  We believe individual facets of the eyes are hexagonal.

Dragonfly
Dragonfly

 

Letter 11 – California Darner

 

Subject: Dragonfly
Location: Santa Ana, Ca
June 16, 2016 8:21 pm
Found this beauty outside my office in So Cal. Didn’t see anything like it on your site. Could you please help identify?
Thanks so much!
Signature: Betsy

California Darner
California Darner

Dear Betsy,
Thanks to the Monterey Bay website, we believe we have correctly identified your Dragonfly as a California Darner,
Rhionaeshna californica, and we verified that identification on BugGuide.  We have one other California Darner on our site submitted from Washington in 2010.

Letter 12 – Abdomen of a Dragonfly

 

Subject: bug
Location: Michigan
July 2, 2016 3:58 pm
Trying to figure out what this is
Signature: clint bonkowski

Dragonfly Abdomen
Dragonfly Abdomen

Dear Clint,
This is the abdomen of a Dragonfly.  We will attempt a species identification.  We believe this abdomen belongs to a Darner in the family Aeshnidae, and you can see the similarity by looking at Darner images on BugGuide.

Letter 13 – “Tween” Male Blue Dasher Dragonfly

 

Subject: Dragonfly Behavior
Location: Faribault County, Minnesota
July 13, 2016 12:57 pm
Greetings!
On June 21 I was walking my Rain Garden to see if any insects were taking advantage of the blooming plants when I noticed a “blue” Dragonfly on top a stick I was using to mark a plant I had moved. Seems most of the dragonflies I see perch atop sticks or posts or at the end of branches. I’ve likened that behavior to “sunning” as I’ve seen butterflies do. The dragonfly might fly around a bit, but usually returns to the same perch, perhaps in a slightly different position.
This particular Dragonfly on that particular day landed horizontally atop the stick, then slowly raised its entire abdomen to a near vertical position (see photo). After a moment or two it flew around and then came back to the same stick and repeated the behavior. Fascinating!
If I were to guess, I’d say it was a mating call, probably with pheromones to cast on the breeze and disperse with fluttering. Male or female, I’d guess male. But that last photo reveals a groove along the abdomen which I hear in butterflies indicates females. So I’m uncertain as to what I photographed; still fascinated, but also uncertain. I’m hoping you can set me straight.
Nature is absolutely amazing when one takes the time to observe! Not just glance, but actually look and observe.
Thanks so much!
Signature: Wanda J. Kothlow

Blue Dasher
Blue Dasher

Hi Again Wanda,
Based on this BugGuide image, we are quite confident this lovely blue Dragonfly with red eyes is a “tween” male Blue Dasher,
Pachydiplax longipennis.  According to BugGuide, as they begin to mature, “tween” males are described:  ” they mature the abdomen becomes blue except for yellow that remains on the sides of the first few abdominal segments and the black tip on the end of the abdomen. The eyes at this stage are still juvenile red/grey.”  Now regarding the posture you observed, we found this comment by Ron Hemberger on a BugGuide posting:  “When it’s hot, dragons can be seen in an obelisking posture, with rear end elevated and, that way, less area exposed to the sun. The ones I’ve seen do this – different species than yours – typically have a bit of curl to the body, so the thorax is almost level with the ground while the abdomen heads upwards.”

Blue Dasher
Blue Dasher

Well now, this goes to show ya what little I know. I never would have thought the “obelisking” of the dragonfly was for thermoregulation! And here I was being all “scientific” and romantic and thinking of baby dragonflies in the making. I can certainly and honestly say I learned something new today!
Thanks, y’all!
Wanda

Letter 14 – A pair of Widow Skimmers

 

Dragonflies
Hi bugman, As a avid daily visitor to your site, I have searched many pages and answered many questions. Thanks for the hard work! This past summer ( 2007) I participated in the New York State Dragonfly and Damselfly Survey (NYDDS). While I am certainly no expert (not even close) I hope that you can use these two photos of a male (top)[actually left] and female (bottom) [right] Widow Skimmer Libellula luctuosa. These animals were photographed in upstate NY, Madison County in the month of July.
Alison

Hi Alison,
Thank you ever so much for sending us your wonderful images of a pair of Widow Skimmers.

Letter 15 – Bandwing Dragonlet: a pair

 

bandwing dragonlet-dragonfly species not on your site Hialeah Florida
Hello,
I took this photo in my yard yesterday (Aug. 19, 2008) the same time as the bee fly picture. I thought you already had a picture of this dragonfly on your site, but after I checked today, I didn’t see it. I googled for ‘Dragonfly species Florida’ and I’ve tentatively ID’ed it as a Band-Winged Dragonlet going by the one I found here- http://filebox.vt.edu/users/stcolli2/Dragonflies/Floridalist.htm (that photo isn’t as clear as mine, but I do think it’s the same species).
Marian Mendez

Female Bandwing Dragonlet
(08/20/2008) fem.banded dragonlet- Hialeah Fla.
I hadn’t intended to send another email today (Aug 20, 2008), but I snapped this dragonfly in pretty much the same place in my yard as the male Banded Dragonlet I sent you earlier today and I *think* it’s the female Banded Dragonlet. The coloring is lighter than some I’d seen, but possibly it’s a young one? The possibility of adding a pair to your site was irresistable. I love dragonflies. Considering the limitations of my camera, I was astounded that I got such a good closeup of her monkey-like face, so I’m sending 2 pics. Marian Mendez

Hi again Marian,
BugGuide has numerous photos of the Bandwing Dragonlet, Erythrodiplax umbrata, and we agree with your identification. Interestingly, though BugGuide lists it as neotropical and ranging to Southern Florida and Texas, they do have a report from Ohio.

Letter 16 – Best Letter of All Time

 

Dragonfly Naiad species question
Hey all,
Great job with this site! I just came across it a few weeks ago when I was trying to ID several of the life forms I have in my miniature stream bank ecosystem. There’s a stream near my home in West Windsor , NJ called the Millstone River (but it’s only 20’ across). When we have a drought or heat wave each summer, the farmers overpump Millstone River in order to hydrate their crops. As a result, they lower the water level downstream several feet and kill off a majority of the life that lives in the shallow water near the banks shrouded in anacharis and Lilly pads. This year was the first in six years that I decided to ‘rescue’ about 15 gallons of life from this area. The 29-gallon tank is filled less than halfway, yet has four Northern Crayfish, five Brown Water Scorpions, at least a dozen damselfly naiads of varying species, several Common Water Striders, a couple Cherry Barb Minnows under 2”, half dozen Pumpkinseeds under 1⁄2”, one Bullfrog tadpole under 2”, a few Kirby’s Backswimmers, a dozen Water Boatman, a dozen small water beetles under 1⁄4”, a Pickerel under 2”, dozens of small shrimp-like crustaceans under 1⁄4”, about a hundred snails, a dragonfly naiad, and so much more (paramecium, planarians, hydras, etc.). I know that was a long sentence, but it emphasizes how much and at what a staggering variety life can be found in a few square yards of a stream bank. Fascinating! In the past month, the numbers have reached a balance between predator and prey and scavenger, so the tank pretty much takes care of itself. The snails do an awesome job of cleaning. So far I’ve freed about a dozen damsel flies, caddisflies, and soon a dragonfly back into the wild after metamorphosis. The dragonfly naiad is the one I have a question about. I’m pretty excited about it because I think it’s a Green Darner naiad. It’s excellent at hiding among the anacharis so I rarely see it. Fortunately it rested on a branch for just a moment and I was able to snap a few relatively clear pictures of it. In the past week it has changed color from a pair of yellow bands on a black field to a complex pattern of various greens and dark browns. I supplied a photo of each stage to aid in identification. The yellow bands are still vaguely visible now. Being that I’ve had dragonfly naiads in the past, I’m not worried at all about its survival among all those predators (fish and insect). Dragonfly naiads are BRUTAL predators! Please let me know if I’m right about this one! I’d love to hear from you. If you’d like photos of anything else I have a few decent shots, including an video created from dozens of photos of a damselfly during metamorphosis! It was awesome to watch for the whole 2 hours.
An avid fan,
Ian

Hi Ian,
This might well be my favorite letter of all time. I applaud your aquarium. I once had a Los Angeles River Aquarium, merely five gallons, for nearly five years with the original three mosquito fish providing many new generations before a racoon ate them. The aquarium was outside. Sadly, we are going to fail you with your identification. We don’t know what species of Dragonfly naiad you have.

Letter 17 – Alleged Red Veined Darter is Needham's Skimmer

 

Red Veined Darter
Location: Baldwin county Alabama
August 12, 2011 11:35 pm
I didn’t see a picture of a Red Veined Darter when looking through your dragonflies ( I didn’t go through them all, I admit) So I thought I would send this amazing picture my wife took with her iphone when it landed on mine.
Signature: South Alabama bug dude

Alleged Red Veined Darter is Needham's Skimmer

Dear South Alabama bug dude,
We hope your wife knows that you submitted her amazing photo to our website.  We recently grappled with a copyright situation because a photo from the Pennsylvania Wild website was submitted to us for identification purposes without the knowledge of the photo’s originator.  Once a digital photo enters the blogosphere, anything can happen.  Things go viral and there is internet piracy.  Imagery can be transformed and used for advertising purposes.  We cannot help but to wonder if in the very near future we will be teaching photography with a cellular telephone because the cameras are getting better and better and Apple is putting so many features onto the telephone that have nothing to do with making telephone calls.  We have concerns because your wife is obviously a creative individual and she has used a panoramic format and vignetting to add originality to her image.  We cannot say for certain that this is a Red Veined Darter.  We find Dragonfly identifications most challenging.  We are also going to include a cropped and flipped version of the Dragonfly with adjusted levels so that the identifying features of this Dragonfly are less obfuscated.  We cannot link to the Red Veined Darter on BugGuide because it is not represented there, and in our opinion, BugGuide is the best place to identify insects and spiders found in the United States and Canada.  A web search for Red Veined Darter produced a hit to a Dragonfly Site and a scientific name 
Sympetrum fonscolombii.  A web search of Sympetrum fonscolombii produced a hit to a UK site that lists it as a vagrant, but notes:  “”In Britain this species has been seen annually since 1995. Most have been migrants but breeding has been noted in a number of sites from Cornwall to Yorkshire.”  We believe you have not correctly identified your Dragonfly.  The not so credible Wikipedia has many photos of the Red Veined Darter, and none look like your Dragonfly.
We have now taken up a considerable portion of our allotted time this morning for responding to the web browsing public’s questions on what has become a non-identification.   We promised Elizabeth that we would write her a letter of recommendation  for the U.S. Student Fulbright Program so that she can do a photography project in Russia.  Also the fifteen year old Chinese elm bonsaii grove we have nurtured from seedlings has some species of Scale Insect that are being tended by the dreaded Argentine Ants and we really need to take a toothbrush to it and repot it.  We also need to work on a presentation to the Greater Cypress Park Neighborhood Council to request funding to help control the Tree of Heaven population in Elyria Canyon Park.  Sometimes our editorial staff has obligations (or recreational desires) that have nothing to do with the web browsing public’s insect identification questions and today, those things need to be a priority.

Alleged Red Veined Darter is Needham's Skimmer

 

Reader Emails

Over the years, our website, whatsthatbug.com has received hundreds of letters and some interesting images asking us about these insects. Scroll down to have a look at some of them.

Letter 1 – Aquatic Naiad

 

Nursery aquarium bug help …
Hi,
I have a nursery tropical aquarium for raising infant fish but have just discovered a bug approx 1cm long. I have attached some (not best quality) images and hope you can assist in its identifiaction. I have searched the web and so far come up with nothing. Kindest regards
Darren Boxer, South Wales, UK

Hi Darren,
We are not sure if this is an aquatic Hemipteran, or an aquatic Naiad, the immature form of a Dragonfly or similar insect. We suspect it is a Naiad. Clearer photos would help. It was probably introduced on plant material. Both Hemipterans and Naiads will eat baby fish.
.

Letter 2 – Bald Faced Hornet captures Dragonfly

 

bald faced hornet
Hi again!
So I finally looked in the right place and found images that make me think this must have been a bald faced hornet. I’m not quite as thorough as I’d thought. Or as observant as I’d thought. Looking a little more closely, I see shamefully little resemblance between my images and the cicada killers. I’m keeping my day job! I’m the one who’d sent larger versions of these old images of the hornet and it’s prey on a window pane, by the way: I still didn’t see any reference to ones that were quite so large or that they’d catch something as big as a dragonfly, but there is mention of them catching insects to feed their larvae. Those dragonfly meals must be what makes those hornets of the Canadian Rockies grow so big. I have to say again, like everyone who’s posted on your website, I love your website! I also really appreciate your respect for life and the balance of nature. And congratulations on the successes of your students! Eventually,
Brian

Hi Brian,
Thanks for resending your images to us. Your identification of the Bald Faced Hornet seems accurate. Readers who desire more information should check out BugGuide.

Letter 3 – Australian Emperor Dragonflies Mating

 

Aussie Giants Laying Eggs
Hi Guys,
Well its spring in Australia from today and snapped these Australian Giant Dragonflys depositing eggs. Hope you like it. Taken on my property on the Gold Coast, Queensland. 1st September 2007. regards,
Trevor Jinks
Australia

Hi again Trevor,
Thanks for sending your photo of mating Dragonflies our way. We expect the amount of email we receive from Australia should be increasing now that spring is near.

Correction: Sat, Feb 21, 2009 at 1:18 AM
Good morning,
If I may, it is probably the Australian Emperor (Hemianax papuensis).
I hope this helps,
Renaud, Switzerland

Letter 4 – Bug of the Month: September 2008 – Golden-Silk Spider Eating Large Dragonfly

 

(08/29/2008) Golden-Silk Spider Eating Large Dragonfly – Palm Beach County – Florida
Hello Purveyors of Bug Identifications,
First – thanks for providing such an educational website. I use it quite a bit while working for the Palm Beach County Department of Environmental Resources Management. We oversee the protection of thousands of acres of wildlands and one of my numerous jobs is to create trail guides/publications for these properties. This means I need to know what sorts of creatures roam the woodlands – and since I work in the warm, wet climate of South Florida, that means lots of bugs! I am sending you a picture of a female golden-silk spider enjoying a light repast of dragonfly. This photos was taken at the Delray Oaks Natural Area in Delray Beach, Florida. Note, I believe the small spider in the upper right corner is a male. He seems to be waiting his turn at the dinner table – probably smart considering the huge size discrepancy between the two. If he is not careful, he may be dessert! Keep up the great work!
Ann Mathews
Senior Environmental Analyst
Palm Beach County

Hi Ann,
Your letter came at the perfect time to be selected as the Bug of the Month for September as well as being cross referenced in the Food Chain and Bug Love. Golden Silk Spiders, Nephila clavipes, have pronounced sexual dimorphism, with the female sometime being 100 times the mass of the diminutive male. Golden Silk Spiders have extremely strong silk, and attempts have been made to use it for fabric, but this is far too expensive to be practical. Golden Silk Spiders are also called Banana Spiders and can be found in the southeastern US and south all the way to Argentina.

Anxious Comment
OK, this is just sad
I’m anxiously awaiting the September Bug of the Month…does that mean I’m addicted?
Misty Doy

Hi Misty,
We usually post the new Bug of the Month on the last day of the month even if we have selected it a few days earlier. It will be live shortly.

Letter 5 – Black Saddlebags Dragonfly

 


I found this bug on my patio, nothing to show reference to size. It was about 3 to 3 1/2 nose to tail and the wing span was about 5 inches. Just curious what it could be. I live in Wisconsin, have never seen this before.Thanks,
Elaine

Hi Elaine,
Your species of Dragonfly, Tramea lacerata, is commonly called the Black Saddlebags. Someone must have seen the resemblace between the black markings on the wings and saddlebags on a horse. Interestingly, in Spanish, a Dragonfly is commonly called Caballo de Diablo, or Devil’s Horse.

Letter 6 – California Darner

 

Possibly California darner?
June 24, 2010
Took this photo 22 June, late morning, in my backyard near Edmonds, WA. Large dragonfly was clinging to unripe blueberries for quite awhile, cooperated as I took several photos (have attached the best one). After I stepped away it suddenly took off and I enjoyed watching for several minutes as it looped and dove in roughly repeated patterns around that end of yard, many times passing within a foot or so of me. It made passes everytime it saw an insect, large or small (while I cheered — I have an organic garden and need all the help I can get), altho I never saw it catch anything. Perhaps some were too small for me to see. It seems similar to pictures I’ve seen of dragonflies in the Darner family…I looked in Bug Guide and California darner (Rhionaeschna californ ica) was the closest, with brownish eyes, but would like confirmation, if possible. I recently sent the probable ID on the sea cucumber (echinoderm). It was nice to be helping instead of asking, for a change! Love your site and bugID service, have turned my NatureGeek friends on to it!
Sincerely, Dee
Edmonds, Washington State

California Darner

Hi Dee,
Thanks for the Sea Cucumber assistance.  We believe you are correct that this lovely dragonfly is a California Darner, Rhionaeschna californica, based on images posted to BugGuide.  Thank you for your very informational letter.

Letter 7 – Black Saddlebags Dragonfly

 

dragonfly like thing.
Location:  Greenpoint, Brooklyn
August 26, 2010 2:10 pm
August 26th, 9-10AM
Sunny day after a previously rainy one.
From a distance it looked like a squished flower but as I got closer I noticed the wings and the vivid colors which did not photographed as bright.
It was very still on the pavement for awhile and did not fly away when I touched it.
doe

Black Saddlebags

Hi doe,
The reason you think the Black Saddlebags is like a Dragonfly is because it is a Dragonfly.  You may read more about the Black Saddlebags,
Tramea lacerata, by going to BugGuide.

Letter 8 – Bitten by a Dragonfly Naiad

 

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.

Letter 9 – Bug Art: Quilled Green Darner

 

Location: Dearborn, Michigan
January 24, 2012 7:20 pm
I just thought you’d enjoy my interpretation of a Green Darner in quilling. Really enjoy WTB.
Signature: cathyort

Quilled Green Darner

Hi cathyort,
Thanks so much for sending us an example of your insect inspired art.  We are inspired to create a new Bug Art category and we have to search our archive for a few other examples of sculpture and tattoos we have received over the years to include there.  Daniel also makes insect inspired quilts in his free time.  Perhaps he will post some examples.

Letter 10 – Alaskan Dragonfly: Possibly Western Flying Adder

 

Subject: Western Flying Adder? (also, dragonfly eyes)
Location: Fairbanks Alaska
July 21, 2013 10:53 am
Thank you again for your wonderful site. I have spent way too much time, following paths of links through your interesting pages. But that isn’t why I’m writing.
It seems that we have just a could of kinds of dragonflies that we see frequently around our house, so I thought it might be nice to be able to identify them. Here is a photo of one of them that my son managed to have perch on his hand. From what I could find I thought it might be a Western Flying Adder (Cordulegaster dorsalis) but I’m NOT an expert yet!
The other thing that I think is really cool about several of these photos is the way that you can see hexagonal reflections on the eyes. That isn’t just in the photos – we saw that in ”real life” too. Is that because of the hexagonal structure of the ommatidium that the eyes are made up of?
Signature: Mother and Son Bug Fans

Dragonfly
Dragonfly

Dear Mother and Son Bug Fans,
Thanks for your compliment.  Alas, we often have difficulty with species identifications for Dragonflies, but this might be
Cordulegaster dorsalis which BugGuide calls a Pacific Spiketail.  We like the name Western Flying Adder, but we don’t know where you learned that name.  Perhaps one of our knowledgeable readers can assist with this species identification.  We believe individual facets of the eyes are hexagonal.

Dragonfly
Dragonfly

 

Letter 11 – California Darner

 

Subject: Dragonfly
Location: Santa Ana, Ca
June 16, 2016 8:21 pm
Found this beauty outside my office in So Cal. Didn’t see anything like it on your site. Could you please help identify?
Thanks so much!
Signature: Betsy

California Darner
California Darner

Dear Betsy,
Thanks to the Monterey Bay website, we believe we have correctly identified your Dragonfly as a California Darner,
Rhionaeshna californica, and we verified that identification on BugGuide.  We have one other California Darner on our site submitted from Washington in 2010.

Letter 12 – Abdomen of a Dragonfly

 

Subject: bug
Location: Michigan
July 2, 2016 3:58 pm
Trying to figure out what this is
Signature: clint bonkowski

Dragonfly Abdomen
Dragonfly Abdomen

Dear Clint,
This is the abdomen of a Dragonfly.  We will attempt a species identification.  We believe this abdomen belongs to a Darner in the family Aeshnidae, and you can see the similarity by looking at Darner images on BugGuide.

Letter 13 – “Tween” Male Blue Dasher Dragonfly

 

Subject: Dragonfly Behavior
Location: Faribault County, Minnesota
July 13, 2016 12:57 pm
Greetings!
On June 21 I was walking my Rain Garden to see if any insects were taking advantage of the blooming plants when I noticed a “blue” Dragonfly on top a stick I was using to mark a plant I had moved. Seems most of the dragonflies I see perch atop sticks or posts or at the end of branches. I’ve likened that behavior to “sunning” as I’ve seen butterflies do. The dragonfly might fly around a bit, but usually returns to the same perch, perhaps in a slightly different position.
This particular Dragonfly on that particular day landed horizontally atop the stick, then slowly raised its entire abdomen to a near vertical position (see photo). After a moment or two it flew around and then came back to the same stick and repeated the behavior. Fascinating!
If I were to guess, I’d say it was a mating call, probably with pheromones to cast on the breeze and disperse with fluttering. Male or female, I’d guess male. But that last photo reveals a groove along the abdomen which I hear in butterflies indicates females. So I’m uncertain as to what I photographed; still fascinated, but also uncertain. I’m hoping you can set me straight.
Nature is absolutely amazing when one takes the time to observe! Not just glance, but actually look and observe.
Thanks so much!
Signature: Wanda J. Kothlow

Blue Dasher
Blue Dasher

Hi Again Wanda,
Based on this BugGuide image, we are quite confident this lovely blue Dragonfly with red eyes is a “tween” male Blue Dasher,
Pachydiplax longipennis.  According to BugGuide, as they begin to mature, “tween” males are described:  ” they mature the abdomen becomes blue except for yellow that remains on the sides of the first few abdominal segments and the black tip on the end of the abdomen. The eyes at this stage are still juvenile red/grey.”  Now regarding the posture you observed, we found this comment by Ron Hemberger on a BugGuide posting:  “When it’s hot, dragons can be seen in an obelisking posture, with rear end elevated and, that way, less area exposed to the sun. The ones I’ve seen do this – different species than yours – typically have a bit of curl to the body, so the thorax is almost level with the ground while the abdomen heads upwards.”

Blue Dasher
Blue Dasher

Well now, this goes to show ya what little I know. I never would have thought the “obelisking” of the dragonfly was for thermoregulation! And here I was being all “scientific” and romantic and thinking of baby dragonflies in the making. I can certainly and honestly say I learned something new today!
Thanks, y’all!
Wanda

Letter 14 – A pair of Widow Skimmers

 

Dragonflies
Hi bugman, As a avid daily visitor to your site, I have searched many pages and answered many questions. Thanks for the hard work! This past summer ( 2007) I participated in the New York State Dragonfly and Damselfly Survey (NYDDS). While I am certainly no expert (not even close) I hope that you can use these two photos of a male (top)[actually left] and female (bottom) [right] Widow Skimmer Libellula luctuosa. These animals were photographed in upstate NY, Madison County in the month of July.
Alison

Hi Alison,
Thank you ever so much for sending us your wonderful images of a pair of Widow Skimmers.

Letter 15 – Bandwing Dragonlet: a pair

 

bandwing dragonlet-dragonfly species not on your site Hialeah Florida
Hello,
I took this photo in my yard yesterday (Aug. 19, 2008) the same time as the bee fly picture. I thought you already had a picture of this dragonfly on your site, but after I checked today, I didn’t see it. I googled for ‘Dragonfly species Florida’ and I’ve tentatively ID’ed it as a Band-Winged Dragonlet going by the one I found here- http://filebox.vt.edu/users/stcolli2/Dragonflies/Floridalist.htm (that photo isn’t as clear as mine, but I do think it’s the same species).
Marian Mendez

Female Bandwing Dragonlet
(08/20/2008) fem.banded dragonlet- Hialeah Fla.
I hadn’t intended to send another email today (Aug 20, 2008), but I snapped this dragonfly in pretty much the same place in my yard as the male Banded Dragonlet I sent you earlier today and I *think* it’s the female Banded Dragonlet. The coloring is lighter than some I’d seen, but possibly it’s a young one? The possibility of adding a pair to your site was irresistable. I love dragonflies. Considering the limitations of my camera, I was astounded that I got such a good closeup of her monkey-like face, so I’m sending 2 pics. Marian Mendez

Hi again Marian,
BugGuide has numerous photos of the Bandwing Dragonlet, Erythrodiplax umbrata, and we agree with your identification. Interestingly, though BugGuide lists it as neotropical and ranging to Southern Florida and Texas, they do have a report from Ohio.

Letter 16 – Best Letter of All Time

 

Dragonfly Naiad species question
Hey all,
Great job with this site! I just came across it a few weeks ago when I was trying to ID several of the life forms I have in my miniature stream bank ecosystem. There’s a stream near my home in West Windsor , NJ called the Millstone River (but it’s only 20’ across). When we have a drought or heat wave each summer, the farmers overpump Millstone River in order to hydrate their crops. As a result, they lower the water level downstream several feet and kill off a majority of the life that lives in the shallow water near the banks shrouded in anacharis and Lilly pads. This year was the first in six years that I decided to ‘rescue’ about 15 gallons of life from this area. The 29-gallon tank is filled less than halfway, yet has four Northern Crayfish, five Brown Water Scorpions, at least a dozen damselfly naiads of varying species, several Common Water Striders, a couple Cherry Barb Minnows under 2”, half dozen Pumpkinseeds under 1⁄2”, one Bullfrog tadpole under 2”, a few Kirby’s Backswimmers, a dozen Water Boatman, a dozen small water beetles under 1⁄4”, a Pickerel under 2”, dozens of small shrimp-like crustaceans under 1⁄4”, about a hundred snails, a dragonfly naiad, and so much more (paramecium, planarians, hydras, etc.). I know that was a long sentence, but it emphasizes how much and at what a staggering variety life can be found in a few square yards of a stream bank. Fascinating! In the past month, the numbers have reached a balance between predator and prey and scavenger, so the tank pretty much takes care of itself. The snails do an awesome job of cleaning. So far I’ve freed about a dozen damsel flies, caddisflies, and soon a dragonfly back into the wild after metamorphosis. The dragonfly naiad is the one I have a question about. I’m pretty excited about it because I think it’s a Green Darner naiad. It’s excellent at hiding among the anacharis so I rarely see it. Fortunately it rested on a branch for just a moment and I was able to snap a few relatively clear pictures of it. In the past week it has changed color from a pair of yellow bands on a black field to a complex pattern of various greens and dark browns. I supplied a photo of each stage to aid in identification. The yellow bands are still vaguely visible now. Being that I’ve had dragonfly naiads in the past, I’m not worried at all about its survival among all those predators (fish and insect). Dragonfly naiads are BRUTAL predators! Please let me know if I’m right about this one! I’d love to hear from you. If you’d like photos of anything else I have a few decent shots, including an video created from dozens of photos of a damselfly during metamorphosis! It was awesome to watch for the whole 2 hours.
An avid fan,
Ian

Hi Ian,
This might well be my favorite letter of all time. I applaud your aquarium. I once had a Los Angeles River Aquarium, merely five gallons, for nearly five years with the original three mosquito fish providing many new generations before a racoon ate them. The aquarium was outside. Sadly, we are going to fail you with your identification. We don’t know what species of Dragonfly naiad you have.

Letter 17 – Alleged Red Veined Darter is Needham's Skimmer

 

Red Veined Darter
Location: Baldwin county Alabama
August 12, 2011 11:35 pm
I didn’t see a picture of a Red Veined Darter when looking through your dragonflies ( I didn’t go through them all, I admit) So I thought I would send this amazing picture my wife took with her iphone when it landed on mine.
Signature: South Alabama bug dude

Alleged Red Veined Darter is Needham's Skimmer

Dear South Alabama bug dude,
We hope your wife knows that you submitted her amazing photo to our website.  We recently grappled with a copyright situation because a photo from the Pennsylvania Wild website was submitted to us for identification purposes without the knowledge of the photo’s originator.  Once a digital photo enters the blogosphere, anything can happen.  Things go viral and there is internet piracy.  Imagery can be transformed and used for advertising purposes.  We cannot help but to wonder if in the very near future we will be teaching photography with a cellular telephone because the cameras are getting better and better and Apple is putting so many features onto the telephone that have nothing to do with making telephone calls.  We have concerns because your wife is obviously a creative individual and she has used a panoramic format and vignetting to add originality to her image.  We cannot say for certain that this is a Red Veined Darter.  We find Dragonfly identifications most challenging.  We are also going to include a cropped and flipped version of the Dragonfly with adjusted levels so that the identifying features of this Dragonfly are less obfuscated.  We cannot link to the Red Veined Darter on BugGuide because it is not represented there, and in our opinion, BugGuide is the best place to identify insects and spiders found in the United States and Canada.  A web search for Red Veined Darter produced a hit to a Dragonfly Site and a scientific name 
Sympetrum fonscolombii.  A web search of Sympetrum fonscolombii produced a hit to a UK site that lists it as a vagrant, but notes:  “”In Britain this species has been seen annually since 1995. Most have been migrants but breeding has been noted in a number of sites from Cornwall to Yorkshire.”  We believe you have not correctly identified your Dragonfly.  The not so credible Wikipedia has many photos of the Red Veined Darter, and none look like your Dragonfly.
We have now taken up a considerable portion of our allotted time this morning for responding to the web browsing public’s questions on what has become a non-identification.   We promised Elizabeth that we would write her a letter of recommendation  for the U.S. Student Fulbright Program so that she can do a photography project in Russia.  Also the fifteen year old Chinese elm bonsaii grove we have nurtured from seedlings has some species of Scale Insect that are being tended by the dreaded Argentine Ants and we really need to take a toothbrush to it and repot it.  We also need to work on a presentation to the Greater Cypress Park Neighborhood Council to request funding to help control the Tree of Heaven population in Elyria Canyon Park.  Sometimes our editorial staff has obligations (or recreational desires) that have nothing to do with the web browsing public’s insect identification questions and today, those things need to be a priority.

Alleged Red Veined Darter is Needham's Skimmer

 

Authors

    by
  • Bugman

    Bugman aka Daniel Marlos has been identifying bugs since 1999. whatsthatbug.com is his passion project and it has helped millions of readers identify the bug that has been bugging them for over two decades. You can reach out to him through our Contact Page.

  • Piyushi Dhir

    Piyushi is a nature lover, blogger and traveler at heart. She lives in beautiful Canada with her family. Piyushi is an animal lover and loves to write about all creatures.

17 thoughts on “Can Dragonflies Walk? Unraveling the Mystery”

  1. He wasn’t bitten by the mouth of it, the two stinger like things on the end are what went into his finger. It stuck on him enough for him to clearly see that was what got into the skin.

    Reply
    • Thanks for the clarification. Those projections are not stingers. Perhaps they are spines that discourage getting swallowed by a fish.

      Reply
  2. My mother and a friend of mine have both been “bitten” by a Dragonfly Naiad, and now the two of them are scared to death of Dragonflies. The spine theory makes perfect sense to me. Evolution has given all kinds of creatures many wonderful and interesting defenses so they can survive their predators. Fish will often eat anything anyway (hence why people can fish with fishing hooks) but I’m sure a few pricks with those spines during the eating process, would discourage the fish from finishing its “tasty” meal.

    Reply
  3. Hi,

    Apart from its range (I don’t think the Red Veined Darter (S. foscolombii has ever reached Americas) I could put you into sleep with listing the features that set apart the Red-Weined Darter (S. fonscolombii) to this one 🙂
    So let say we have narrowed it down to the Skimmers (genus Libellula), a male.
    You have two look alike species over there: Golden-Winged Skimmer and Needham’s Skimmer. Among differences is that the G-W Skimmer is more orange overall then red when mature and about all veins are orange in color. So Needham’s is reddish however that color is restricted to the veins of the leading edge. The other veins are darker.
    So I do believe it is a male Needham’s Skimmer (Libellula Needhami).

    Renaud Bernhard
    Switzerland

    Reply
    • Dear Renaud,
      Thanks ever so much for providing a proper identification. Our response veered away from even attempting an identification and your expertise is greatly appreciated.

      Reply
  4. My name is Emily and I am the one who took the picture of this dragonfly. It was amazing as I have not ever seen a red dragonfly before. There were 9 people standing around and the dragonfly would land on us and our phones as you can see. When someone would move it would fly away for a second then fly right back to us. It was so cool. Thanks for posting the picture, I appreciate it and yes I did give my husband permission to send it to you.

    Reply
  5. In the UK we call the naiads ‘nymphs’, which are just about the same thing anyway – a naiad was a Greek freshwater nymph, or minor deity. That aside, I also have suffered a ‘bite’ from one of these beasties when I was a child. Used to love investigating the garden pond and handling the creatures I found. I had what I now know to be a Darter (Is that the same as you call ” Darners”? ) nymph on the back of my hand when it ‘bit’ me with a sharp pinch-like sensation, that did not carry on hurting like a sting would but was certainly enough to make me yell and brush it from my hand.

    Reply
  6. I found the name “Western Flying Adder” on insectidentification.org. Looking at the pictures on bug guide I don’t think that is what this is. Thanks for your help, and perhaps the help of your readers.

    Reply
  7. Looking further on bug guide I think it is more likely to be a paddle-tailed Darner (Aeshna palmata)

    Reply
  8. Hey I just got bit by one, he bit me on my toe, but he like but me so hard that it’s been twenty minutes and it still stings, idk if I should be worried or not, he didn’t break the skin just the outside is abit broken in.

    Reply

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