Common Dragonflies of Willowbrook Wildlife Center
Note: dragonflies are heavy bodied, strong fliers that spread their wings when perched. Damselflies
are weak fliers with thin bodies and closed or partially spread wings when perched.
Dragonflies with Wing Spots
|Several kinds of dragonflies show this pattern of black wing spots.
Two rarer species also have similar wing spot patterns:
- Male 12-spotted skimmer: bright white spots between the black ones (shown in first picture)
- Female 12-spotted skimmer: lacks the white wing spots. Abdomen dark brown with solid
bright yellow lines down the outer top edges. (shown in second picture)
- Female common whitetail: like the female 12-spot, but the yellow lines on the abdomen
are borken and not solid. (Male: see below)
- Calico pennant: has a much larger dark spot at the base of the hind wing, and a much
smaller spot at the base of the forewing. Its abdomen is bright red in the male and yellow
in the female.
- Price baskettail: flies continuously, seldom if ever landing, and has bright green eyes.
- Male common whitetail: wing pattern. Abdomen powdery white.
- Female widow skimmer: wing pattern. (first image) Male has large white areas outside the black ones. (second image)
- Black saddlebags: wing pattern. The body is all black.
- Red saddlebags: an uncommon species, has a similar wing pattern but the abdomen is all red.
- Calico pennant: also has a large red spot at the base of the hind wing, with additional smaller spots on all wings. (shown in picture)
- Spot-winged glider: an uncommon species, has a smaller spot at the back inner corner of the hind wing.
||Tiny dragonflies with wings largerly or entirely amber colored.
- Eastern amberwing: for the most if the summer the most common dragonfly at the Willowbrook marsh. The
males' wings are entirely amber colored; females' wings are covered with a pattern of brown spots
somewhat similar to the pattern shown by the much larger male common whitetail.
||Dragonflies without wing spots, thorax or abdomen bright green or blue.
- Green darner: large, continually flying species. Males have brigh green thorax
and blue abdomen. Abdomen of female is gray or brown.
- Eastern pondhawk: smaller than green darner, often perching. Both genders have
bodies that are bright green to begin with, male body becomes bright blue, beginning
with the abdomen. (shown in photo)
- Blue dasher (male): (female, see bleow) similar in size to eastern pondhawk, often
perching but sometimes patrolling over the water. Abdomen bluie with prominent black tip.
Thorax dark, striped.
||Dragonflies without wing spots, abdomen mainly bright red.
- Mature male white-faced meadowhawk: a row of small black triangles along each side of the
abdomen; face is white.
- Mature male yellow-legged meadowhawk: lacks the black trangles and the white face.
||Dragonflies without wing spots, body colors brown to black.
Small light brown dragonflies with slender abdomens, often perching:
- Spiny baskettail: dark brown, constantly patrolling over the surface of water and
chasing away other dragonflies even of much larger species.
- Female blue dasher: body heavily striped and spotted, brown, often perching and usually seen with male.
- Immature and female white-faced meadowhawk: black legs, and black triangles on sides of abdomen.
- Immature and female yellow-legged meadowhawk: lacks the black triangles and has pale legs.
- Wandering glider: light brown body, almost never perching but often hovering in open areas.
- Dot-tailed whiteface: body black, with a white spot on top of the abdomen near the tip, and a white face. (shown in photo)
- Lilypad clubtail: end of abdomen appears swollen, orange or yellow.
To see a specific image of selected species of Dragonflies, please click on any species listed below.
Twelve Spot Skimmer
Common White Tail