Working to conserve dragonflies and their wetland habitats

Black-tailed Skimmer

Orthetrum cancellatum

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Description

Length: 44-49mm
Females and immatures are pale, yellowish brown with tho bold lines running along the length of the abdomen. The wings have a yellow costa and a very dark brown or black pterostigma.
The males develop a blue pruinescence on the abdomen darkening to the rear with with S8-10 becoming black. Its eyes are very dark green. They fly swift and low, skimming the water surface.
Females retain their colur and markings though they become quite greyish brown with age.

Dr. Chris Thomas photographed and timed the hatching sequence of a female Black-tailed Skimmer and has placed it on the web as part of a longer photo tour of the BBC Springwatch East Day at Marston Vale, June 2006. The first photo of the sequence can be found here.

Habitat

This dragonfly is found at any open water with bare patches along the shore where the patrolling males frequently rest in the sun.

Status & Distribution

Fairly common. Southern England, parts of Wales and Ireland. Increasing its range northwards.


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Similar species

Could be confused with Keeled Skimmer or Scarce Chaser.