Libellula nodisticta
(Hoary Skimmer)


Order: Odonata
Suborder: Anisoptera
Order Description:
Dragonflies
Family: Libellulidae
Family Description: Skimmer

Description:
   Naiad- The naiad is currently undescribed by biologists.
   Adult- This is a medium-sized, stout-bodied dragonfly, with a length of 1 13/16 to 2 1/16 inches (46 to 52 mm). The wings are mostly clear, with each marked at the base with a dark patch and at the center along the leading edge with a small dark spot. Mature males are pruinose blue on the thorax and abdomen. Each side of the thorax may be marked with several yellow spots, and the sides of the abdomen may be marked with brownish orange dashes. Females and immature males are grayish brown and marked with yellow, both on the sides of the thorax and on each abdominal segment.

Range:
This species is found from Yellowstone National Park (northwestern Wyoming), south and west to California, extending south into South America as far as Venezuela. In Idaho, it can be found in the southwest corner, though it may occur in other areas of the state near hot springs.

Habitat:
This dragonfly can be found in warm climates near lakes, ponds, slow streams, marshes, and at hot springs in cooler climates. All of the species from Idaho and from Yellowstone National Park were collected near hot springs.

Adult Flight Season:
Mid-May to mid-August

Diet:
   Naiad- Naiads feed on a wide variety of aquatic insects, such as mosquito larvae, other aquatic fly larvae, mayfly larvae, and freshwater shrimp. They will also eat small fish and tadpoles.
   Adult- The dragonfly will eat almost any soft-bodied flying insect including mosquitoes, flies, butterflies, moths, mayflies, and flying ants or termites.

Ecology:
The naiads live in the debris on the bottom of lakes, ponds, slow streams, marshes, and hot springs. They do not actively pursue prey but wait for it to pass by, a strategy which affords them protection from other predators. Naiads emerge as adults at night. Adults generally fly from mid-May to mid-August. Hunting occurs from perches on twigs or rocks.

Reproduction:
Males establish and defend territories at choice breeding locations. After males and females mate, the female flies singly, without the male attached, to lay her eggs. She does this by dipping the tip of her abdomen in the shallows of lakes, ponds, slow streams, and marshes while hovering just above the water's surface.

Conservation:
Populations are widespread, abundant, and secure.
Status: Unprotected nongame species
Global Rank: G5
State Rank: S?

References:
Corbet, P. S. 1999. Dragonflies: Behavior and Ecology of Odonata. Cornell University Press, Ithaca, New York, USA, 829pp.

Logan, E. R. 1967. The Odonata of Idaho. Unpublished M. S. thesis. University of Idaho, Moscow, Idaho, USA, 105 pp.

Needham, J. G. and M. J. Westfall. 1955. Dragonflies of North America. University of California Press, Berkely, California, USA, 615 pp.

Paulson, D. R. 1999. Dragonflies of Washington. Seattle Audubon Society, Seattle, Washington, USA, 32 pp.

Walker, E. M. and P. S. Corbet. 1975. The Odonata of Canada and Alaska, Vol. III. University of Toronto Press, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, 307 pp.


Written by Mark Lung and Stefan Sommer, 2001
Photos by Dennis Paulson, 2001
Design by Ean Harker, 2001.