Sunday, September 11, 2011

Twelve-spotted Skimmer Dragonfly

The dragonfly in the picture is a mature male 12-spotted skimmer, Libellula pulchella. Its body is about two inches long and its wingspan is about three inches. Females and new males are a little less spectacular with 12 dark spots but no white ones; the male's white spots develop over time. The 12-spotted skimmer is common in summer throughout the United States and southern Canada.

It is sometimes called the ten-spotted skimmer or just the ten-spot, which is the number you arrive at if you count the mark that spans the body on each set of wings as one spot instead of two.

Whatever you call it, it's a good summer sighting. This one was perched by the pond in Brooklyn Bridge Park in New York City. We can conclude that it is not too sensitive to human activity or noise. Like other dragonflies, the 12-spot eats insects. I am particularly thankful for its voracious appetite for mosquitoes. It devours them in its adult form AND when it is an aquatic larva. It is a mosquito's worst nightmare -- first aquatic dragonfly larvae zip around the pond eating mosquito larvae and pupae and then, just when the adult mosquitoes get out of the pond, along comes a hungry adult 12-spotted skimmer!

2 comments:

  1. I JUST SPOTTED THE 12 SPOTTED SKIMMER DRAGONFLY ON MY DECK HERE IN RALEIGH N.C. TODAY. WHAT A GORGEOUS CREATURE. IT REMAINED IN ONE SPOT FOR QUITE A LONG TIME AND THEN SUDDENLY APPEARED TO JET STREAM ITSELF TO MY FLOWER BED. IT WAS A MALE WITH TWO LARGE BLACK AND WHITE BANDS IN EACH SET OF WINGS.

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    1. Great sighting! You are lucky to have one on your deck!

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