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The Four-Spotted Skimmer ( Libellula quadrimaculata) is a medium-sized dragonfly with a length of 1 5/8 to 1 13/16 inches (40 to 45 mm). Each wing is clear except for along the leading edge, which is clouded with a transparent yellowish brown. The center of each wing is marked with a small dark spot, also on the leading edge. Additionally, each hindwing is marked with a dark patch near the base. Males and females look alike, generally dark brown. The face and each side of the thorax are marked with patches of greenish yellow, and the sides of the abdomen lined with yellowish orange dashes.

Four-Spotted Skimmers are found around the world from Alaska east to Labrador and south to northern California and Texas, and from northern Europe east to Siberia. They fly early April to mid August and can be found near ponds, lakes and marshes. They feed on small flying insects. Hunting occurs from perches on twigs or rocks. This is the only Libellula species in our area in which the males do not become pruinose. Although it does not regularly migrate in North America, this species has been known to migrate in Europe, generally in 10 to 15-year cycles. The direction of the migration varies, and the migrations are thought to be triggered by a trematode parasite (it is known that several types of parasites can cause unusual behaviors in their hosts that promote the dispersal of the parasite). This species has also been known to form large swarms in Europe, often covering 100 square miles (roughly 300 square km).

After males and females mate, the female flies singly, without the male attached, to lay her eggs. She does this by dipping the tip of her abdomen in the water while hovering just above its surface.

Populations are widespread, abundant, and secure.

Throw Pillows

insects, dragonflies, nature

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insects, dragonflies, nature


  • Yool
    Yoolover 6 years ago

    Amazing capture Sandy

  • Thank you so much Yool!

    – Sandy Stewart

  • Sensiworld
    Sensiworldover 6 years ago

    Beautiful !

  • Thank you muchly Sylvia!

    – Sandy Stewart

  • Bonnie T.  Barry
    Bonnie T. Barryover 6 years ago

    Looks like a little jewel! Beautifully photographed, Sandy!

  • Thank you very much Bonnie! I think this one was a male, because he kept landing back on the same twig and would attack any other Dragonfly that passed by too closely. lol

    – Sandy Stewart

  • dinghysailor1
    dinghysailor1over 6 years ago

    gleaming clarity in this superb capture! brilliant!

  • Thank you so very much dinghysailor1!

    – Sandy Stewart

  • Douglas Hunt
    Douglas Huntover 6 years ago

    Well done, beautiful colours and composition, too.

  • Thank you very much Douglas!

    – Sandy Stewart

  • Curtiss Simpson
    Curtiss Simpsonover 6 years ago

    Sweet shot beautiful colors and light !

  • Thank you very much Curtiss!

    – Sandy Stewart

  • Prasad
    Prasadover 6 years ago

    Excellent capture and interesting info, Sandy

  • Thank you Prasad! Glad you enjoyed reading the information as well!

    – Sandy Stewart

  • Marvin Collins
    Marvin Collinsover 6 years ago

    Beautiful shot Sandy, great colors and sharpness, very well done!!

  • Thank you very much Marvin!

    – Sandy Stewart

  • GraemesDesigns
    GraemesDesignsover 6 years ago

    Super image, excellent background info to support it.

  • Thank you very much Graeme! Glad you enjoyed the information too!

    – Sandy Stewart

  • EnVee
    EnVeeover 6 years ago

    very nice capture, great dof :)

  • Thank you very much Nancy!

    – Sandy Stewart

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