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The skimmers or perchers and their relatives form the Libellulidae, the largest dragonfly family in the world. It is sometimes considered to contain the Corduliidae as the subfamily Corduliinae and the Macromiidae as the subfamily Macromiinae. Even if these are excluded (as Silsby does), there still remains a family of over 1000 species. With nearly worldwide distribution, these are almost certainly the most often seen of all dragonflies.
The dragonflies in this family are usually with distinctly broadened abdomen. They are from small to large in size, with body length 20-60 mm and wings span 30-100 mm. Their body is distinctively shorter than their wings span. They are usually red, yellow or blue in colour. Some species have wings patterns. The males are often brightly colored and tend to perch in the open on exposed branches, logs, or sandy shorelines.