Scarlet Skimmer: Essential Facts for Enthusiasts

The Scarlet Skimmer is a fascinating creature that you might want to learn about. These captivating insects are dragonflies that are known for their eye-catching red color and their incredible aerial acrobatics.

As you delve into the world of Scarlet Skimmers, you’ll discover their fascinating life cycle, habitat preferences, and even their role in the ecosystem. They’re not only visually striking but also helpful to humans by controlling mosquito populations due to their predatory nature.

So, let’s dive in and explore the captivating life of the Scarlet Skimmer, providing you with all the essential knowledge to better appreciate these magnificent creatures.

Scarlet Skimmer Overview

The Scarlet Skimmer is a fascinating species of dragonfly belonging to the family Libellulidae. You might also hear them referred to as the Ruddy Marsh Skimmer or Crimson Darter.

What makes these creatures stand out is their vibrant coloration, with bright red abdomens contrasting against dark blackish-brown thorax and wing bases. The following characteristics make them easy to spot:

  • Bright red abdomen
  • Dark blackish-brown thorax and wing bases
  • Slender and elongated body

Being agile fliers, Scarlet Skimmers are commonly found near ponds, marshes, and slow-moving streams. They use their quick reflexes to catch airborne prey, such as mosquitoes and other flying insects.

Some interesting features of the Scarlet Skimmer include:

  • Fast flight speed
  • Strong territorial instincts
  • Impressive hunting techniques

To better understand the Scarlet Skimmer, let’s compare it to similar species within the Libellulidae family:

Feature Scarlet Skimmer Other Libellulidae Species
Abdomen color Bright red Varies (black, brown, blue, etc.)
Thorax color Blackish-brown Varies (black, brown, green, etc.)
Wing coloration Dark bases Transparent or various colored patterns

As you explore your local ponds and parks, keep an eye out for these beautiful insects. With their distinguishing features and remarkable agility, the Scarlet Skimmer is truly a remarkable sight to behold. Remember to approach them gently, and enjoy the beauty of these fascinating dragonflies.

Classification and Identification

Scientific Classification

The Scarlet Skimmer (Crocothemis servilia) belongs to the kingdom Animalia, phylum Arthropoda, class Insecta, order Odonata, and the family Libellulidae. It is part of the Anisoptera suborder within Odonata, which includes dragonflies. The Scarlet Skimmer falls under the genus Crocothemis, known for their vibrant colors and agile flight.

Identifying Characteristics

When identifying the Scarlet Skimmer, keep an eye out for these distinctive features:

  • Bright red or scarlet coloration: Males have a vibrant red body, while females are typically yellowish-brown or duller in color.
  • Transparent wings: Both males and females have transparent wings with dark, reddish veins and a small amber patch at the base.
  • Large, multifaceted eyes: These dragonflies have large, dark reddish-brown eyes that cover most of their head.

The Scarlet Skimmer is often found near ponds and other bodies of water. By observing their distinctive appearance and behavior, you can easily distinguish them from other dragonfly species.

Habitat and Distribution

Native Habitats

The Scarlet Skimmer (Crocothemis servilia) is originally native to East and Southeast Asia. In its native range, you’ll typically find them around various freshwater habitats. For example, the Scarlet Skimmer thrives in ponds, lakes, marshes, and slow-moving streams. They prefer areas with abundant vegetation, which provides cover to evade predators and catch prey.

Introduced Habitats

Interestingly, the Scarlet Skimmer has been introduced to several new regions, including the US and Hawaii. It has successfully established itself in Florida, adapting well to the local environments. As in their native habitats, they frequent places with plenty of vegetation and freshwater sources.

In both native and introduced habitats, the Scarlet Skimmer exhibits similar characteristics:

  • Bright red for males, while females are usually duller in color
  • Darker wing markings at the base and tip
  • Impressive agile aerial abilities

Remember to be mindful of these beautiful creatures and their habitats, as you may have the opportunity to observe them in action whether in their native range or in the introduced regions.

Behavior and Adaptation

The Scarlet Skimmer is a fascinating creature. These dragonflies can often be found near ponds and still waters. They have unique behaviors and adaptations that allow them to thrive in their environment.

Male Scarlet Skimmers are known for their bright red color, which sets them apart from the females. This colorful display helps attract potential mates and assert dominance over their territory. Females, on the other hand, have a more subdued yellow-brown hue, which offers them camouflage and protection from predators.

When it comes to their wings, the hindwing is an essential feature for both males and females. It provides stability during flight and enables the dragonflies to maneuver with agility in the air, essential for catching prey and evading predators.

The Scarlet Skimmer is known to be drawn to still waters such as ponds, swamps, and lake edges. These habitats provide an abundant food supply and areas for females to lay their eggs. Additionally, the stagnant waters allow the scarce accumulation of predators, contributing to their overall safety.

Here are some key features of the Scarlet Skimmer:

  • Males have a vibrant red color
  • Females have a yellow-brown color
  • Hindwings provide stability during flight
  • Prefers still waters as habitat

In summary, the Scarlet Skimmer’s unique characteristics and adaptations make it a compelling species to study. With their vibrant colors, agile flight, and preference for still waters, they are a striking and important part of their ecosystem.

Updates and Contributions

You might be curious about the latest updates and contributions to the world of Scarlet Skimmers. It’s essential to stay informed, so let’s dive into some recent developments.

In recent years, researchers and dragonfly enthusiasts have contributed to our understanding of these fascinating creatures. For instance, they’ve made discoveries about their mating habits and the vibrant red coloration that makes them stand out.

Here are some key findings in bullet points:

  • The Scarlet Skimmer is native to Asia but has expanded its range to other areas.
  • They play a crucial role in controlling mosquito populations.
  • Scarlet Skimmers have a unique flight pattern that distinguishes them from other dragonflies.

There have been several updates to the information surrounding Scarlet Skimmers. Websites like Dragonfly Guild regularly update their content with new findings and captivating photos. Remember to check for the last updated date to ensure you’re reading the most recent information.

To wrap up our brief overview of updates and contributions, always stay curious and don’t hesitate to explore the world of Scarlet Skimmers. Embrace your friendly enthusiasm and keep learning about these beautiful insects!

Reader Emails

Over the years, our website, 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 – Needham's Skimmer


dragonfly and moth
Thought you might like these shots of (what I believe is) a flame skimmer dragonfly (taken in Jamestown, Va in mid August) & a great leopard moth (taken in Elverson, Pa in late June) Keep up the good work, I have found your site invaluable in identifying insects & arachnids in my travels!
Lynne M

Hi Lynne,
We are posting your image, but we are not convinced it is of the Flame Skimmer, which is a Western species. We have to confess, Dragonfly identification often baffles us. We believe this looks most like a species introduced to this country from Australia, the Scarlet Skimmer, Crocothemis servilia. All reports on BugGuide are from Florida (though an unconfirmed report from Tennessee is mentioned) but perhaps it is moving north. We eagerly welcome anyone who can confirm or deny this identification.

Correction: Sat, Feb 21, 2009 at 1:44 AM
Good morning,
If I may, I think it is rather a Needham’s Skimmer (Libellula needhami). Crocothemis look stouter with a rather broad abdomen, without those black marking on the top of the abdomen.
I hope this helps,
Renaud, Switzerland

Letter 2 – Scarlet Skimmer we believe


Subject: Red Dragonfly Identification
Location: Central Florida
August 13, 2017 5:27 pm
I spotted this dragonfly in my front yard earlier today. Can you help me identify what species it is please?
Signature: Julie

Scarlet Skimmer we believe

Dear Julie,
We would gladly defer to anyone with more experience in identifying Dragonflies, but in our opinion, this appears to be a Scarlet Skimmer,
Crocothemis servilia, which we found on BugGuide.  According to BugGuide:  “Native from southern Japan and China to northern Australia. Introduced accidentally to south Florida and to Oahu, Hawai’i” and “Amber patch at the base of each hindwing; black stripe along the dorsal edge of the abdomen.” Alas, the angle of your photographic image is not ideal for verifying the diagnostic features.


  • Bugman

    Bugman aka Daniel Marlos has been identifying bugs since 1999. 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.

    View all posts
  • 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.

    View all posts

2 thoughts on “Scarlet Skimmer: Essential Facts for Enthusiasts”

  1. Good morning,

    If I may, I think it is rather a Needham’s Skimmer (Libellula needhami). Crocothemis look stouter with a rather broad abdomen, without those black marking on the top of the abdomen.

    I hope this helps,
    Renaud, Switzerland


Leave a Comment