King Skimmers (Libellulidae)

Blue Corporal (Ladona deplanata)

One of the earliest odes in spring, male is small and blue (upper) and female/imm is brown w/ pale shoulder stripes (center). Old males get washed out (lower left). Often perches on ground or tree trunks.

3 Mar- 18 Jun

Golden-winged Skimmer (Libellula auripennis)

Uncommon throughout state, but note Needham's Skimmer is extremely similar (only found near coast). The best way to separate from Needham's is to note pattern on side of thorax (see images at left, males in left-hand column and females in right): In Golden-winged the line between the dark (upper and more forward) color follows the humeral suture (the break in pieces of side of thorax). In females and young males this is easy, but can be tough in older males (see lower left). In Needham's this line does not follow the suture and goes forward about halfway down. Note vein on leading edge of female's wing (upper right) is all yellow (inner half black in Needham's). Lowest right is older dull female.             

19 Apr- 1 Nov

Needham's Skimmer (Libellula needhami)

Very similar to Golden-winged, but only found near coast. See ID comments under Golden-winged Skimmer. Main reliable  difference is the pattern between dark and lighter colors on side of thorax does not follow humeral suture but light color bleeds forward into lower front part of thorax. Compare with Golden-winged, and note that in old male Needham's (middle left) this feature can be very faded. One secondary mark is that the reddish color in the wings is mostly along the leading edge, and in Golden-winged the orange color covers most of the wing.
22 Mar- 3 Oct


Bar-winged Skimmer (Libellula axilena)

Slender for a skimmer, and easy to miss. Often found in forest instead of open like other skimmers, and more common earlier in the year. Both Slaty and Great Blue adult males may have some black marks on leading edge of wings resembling Bar-winged, but note small white area at very base of hindwing.  Compare imm males (and females) with other king skimmers, and note dark face and reddish area above white pattern on side of thorax, reddish area subtly different from Slaty.
8 May- 18 Sep

Spangled Skimmer (Libellula cyanea)

Less common than some other king skimmers, and mostly found in marshy habitat. All ages (males upper and middle left, female/imms others) easily recognized by split white/black stigmas. Very old and dark female at lower left.  The one at upper right actually flew up while I was camera-stalking her and nabbed a deer fly that was harassing me... thanks!
10 Apr- 2 Sep

Yellow-sided Skimmer (Libellula flavida)

Uncommon throughout Georgia, note strong yellow marking near leading edge of forewing and pale pattern on side of thorax of both sexes. Males on left, females on right. Rarely the black of the wingtip bleeds into the yellow stigma creating a split look similar to that of Spangled Skimmer, but pale color yellow in Yellow-sided stigma and white in Spangled.
9 Apr- 11 Oct

Slaty Skimmer (Libellula incesta)

Very common throughout state. Female (lower right) can be much brighter and very difficult to separate from other female king skimmers but note partially dark face. Pattern on side of female thorax very similar to Great Blue Skimmer but has some reddish marking above white sides.

2 May- 7 Nov

Widow Skimmer (Libellula luctuosa)

Both sexes unmistakable with inner half of wings black, males on left and females on right. Imm male at lower left is colored like female but note white coming into wing. Older female at lower right is dark and faded, typically they are brighter yellow as at upper right.

6 May- 2 Nov

Twelve-spotted Skimmer (Libellula pulchella)

Most spots of any skimmer in Georgia. Females on right like Common Whitetail female with 3 black marks per wing and brown abdomen but 12-spotted has a yellow stripe the length of the abdomen not series of pale highlights (see C Whitetail). This stripe becomes faded in older females like bottom right. Imm male at middle left and both lower has black spots of female and acquires white spots of adult male but thorax and abdominal pattern of female.       

24 Apr- 22 Oct


Painted Skimmer (Libellula semifasciata)

Unmistakable but uncommon, and mostly early. Female at lower left.   

21 Mar- 23 Aug

Great Blue Skimmer (Libellula vibrans)

Male (two upper left) is a large blue skimmer with green eyes, and may have some black marks in wings. Imm male same as imm female, bright abdomen, black wingtips. Similar to other imm male/female king skimmers, but note all white face (all ages and both sexes). On side of thorax, note no reddish markings above white pattern just beneath wing bases, compare to Slaty and Bar-winged. Older adult female (middle right) has faded pattern but still pale face. Common throughout the south.

8 Apr- 25 Sep


Common Whitetail (Plathemis lydia)

Very common at all water habitats. Female (upper right) has 6 wing spots but brown abdomen with pale highlights along side, similar to female 12 Spotted Skimmer (which has unbroken yellow line along side of abdomen), and often found far from water. Imm male at middle right has only 4 wing spots and white starting to come in at wing base. Unusual adult male at middle left has black spots at wingtips. Female at lower left is ovipositing.  17 Mar- 6 Nov

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