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how did the widow skimmer dragonfly get its name

The widow skimmer (Libellula luctuosa) is found throughout the United States and right here in Wichita, Kansas around ponds and marshy areas.I have looked online for explanations of its name, widow skimmer, but, pretty much, drawn a blank. Most commonly seen in the Summer, but in Spring and Fall as well in warmer areas. The Widow Skimmer male is territorial, like most other dragonflies, and can patrol vast areas in search of females and chase other males off. Millions of years ago they had a wingspan of 30 inches and there is one today with wingspan of 7+ inches in Costa Rica - that must be very impressive to see. A yellow stripe along the abdomen darkens with age to dark brown in females and jet black in males. Most commonly found at lakes and ponds, sometimes at streams, and sometimes well away from water. Contributors own the copyright to and are solely responsible for contributed content.Click the contributor's name for licensing and usage information. I love the Dragonflies and did do a Wicki on them where there is very interesting info. Wings usually have a brown tip. Binomial name; Libellula quadrimaculata. This is a year of dragons. However, the dragonfly is harmless to humans: their jaw is too small and they have no “stinger.” The dragonfly has two sets of very strong wings. ... (Dragonflies) Family Libellulidae (Skimmers) Genus Libellula. Widow Skimmer Facts. Just a couple of snippets - apparently there is 5000 different species worldwide with 450 in the US. Chalk-fronted Corporals are a northern specialty with species found from the Pacific Northwest to New England. Explanation of Names . Odonates are found near fresh water sources and are active on pleasant sunny days. Adults have a steely blue body area but juveniles are yellow with brown stipes. I did find a similar reference on the " Living with Insects Blog ," here, but I also read that "widow" refers to the fact that male Widow Skimmers leave the females after they lay their eggs (leaving them widows), while males of most other dragonfly species stay with the females (source: Loudon Wildlife Conservancy ). widow skimmer dragonfly Leave a comment Posted on July 23, 2018 July 23, 2018 Conservation Farm. Corporals are another of the skimmer genera with a few regionally based species. Females and immature males have the same brown wing bands as the mature males, but not the whitish areas. Dragonflies have excellent eyesight. Eastern amberwing dragonflies, like this female, do handstands to try and cool off in the sweltering heat. Taken handheld with a 70-300mm zoom and 56mm of extension. Males get pruinescent with age. I never tire of the widow skimmer dragonflies, even though they are ubiquitous in my region. Most dragonflies have clear wings, so I am happy when I see one with dark patches on its wings. Unlike some other species where males guard egg-laying females, Widow Skimmer males leave the female by herself, 'widowing' her as she lays her eggs just under the surface of the water. Further, a female black widow spider is extremely poisonous, with its venom being more potent than that of a rattle snake. If you use a little imagination, its body shape begins to resemble a weighting tool. Widow Skimmers live near warm waters. Everything else copyright © 2003-2020 Iowa State University, unless otherwise noted. Dragonflies and Damselflies of West Virginia, Dragonflies Through Binoculars: A Field Guide to Dragonflies of North America. Unlike some other species where males guard egg-laying females, Widow Skimmer males leave the female by herself, 'widowing' her as she lays her eggs just under the surface of the water. A female Widow Skimmer dragonfly on the Wet Prairie This young male Eastern Pondhawk dragonfly ( Erythemis simplicollis) still has chevrons on his tail. Widow Skimmers belong to the King Skimmer group of dragonflies. I managed to get quite a few frames of it and, as usual, I shot bursts to ensure that at least one of the frames had its eye sharp. Their brown bodies become increasingly pruinose (whitish) as they get older. Species Libellula luctuosa - Widow Skimmer. Species luctuosa (Widow Skimmer) Other Common Names . If your soul was found wanting, you could expect to be seriously injured in the near future. The widow skimmer is famous for its pruinosity – the white, waxy coating on the dragonfly's wings and abdomen. This common dragonfly is dark brown with distinctive dark bands across the basal portion of both fore and hind wings. The female usually lays her eggs in shallow ponds or lakes. The suborders are further divided into families and then to the actual scientific name of a specific dragonfly. Widow Skimmer Libellula luctuosa . This scientific name consists of two parts, the genus and the specific name (also called the specific epithet). After watching them for a while, it became apparent that they always returned to the same 2 perches every couple of minutes so I focused on one of the twigs and was rewarded with a few good shots. Their body is a steely blue with prominent black basal bands. According to bugguide.net, the species name of the Widow Skimmer (Libellula luctuosa) “means sorrowful or mournful, perhaps because the wings of both male and female seem to be draped in mourning crepe.” Only the male has white patches on its wings, so it’spretty easy to identify the dragonfly in the image as a male. The hind pair of wings is slightly larger than the forewings. More familiar dragonflies are also out and about. They usually have large jaws and look more like a squat bug than an elegant dragonfly. Insect photograph taken in Chardon, Ohio. This image shows the head of a widow skimmer dragonfly I found on one of the taller plants. Numbers . Compared to other insects, the dragonfly has excellent vision. Females and immature males have similarly patterned wings, minus the white bands, and have black-and-yellow striped abdomens, unlike the blue/gray abdomen of an adult male. Larval dragonflies are called naiads. Finding the bees’ knees. One of the earliest reference to the name ‘dragonfly’ is on the book Sylva Sylvarum, or a Naturall Historie: In Ten Centuries (Classic Reprint) by Francis Bacon – an indeed fascinating read on ancient teachings, observations and experiments (Get it from Amazon). Disclaimer: Dedicated naturalists volunteer their time and resources here to provide this service. Today, dragonflies are consid… Libellula quadrimaculata, known in Europe as the four-spotted chaser and in North America as the four-spotted skimmer, is a dragonfly of the family Libellulidae found widely throughout Europe, Asia, and North America. The female Widow Skimmer has a dark body with a yellow stripe extending from the upper side of the thorax to the base of the abdomen, where it splits into two lines. This name is derived from the shape of a dragonfly’s body. Dragonfly species are characterized by long bodies with two narrow pairs of intricately veined, membranous wings that, … Two dark wing patches on the Widow Skimmer (Libellula luctuosa) technically qualifies its being called the two-spotted skimmer. Mature males have a large basal area of brown on each of the four wings, and each wing also has a whitish area roughly at the middle. "Mature male," he said. Widow. Well, when they reproduce, they form a wheel or heart shape (the process of reproduction is known as "in tandem"). A dorsal view of the abdomen shows a brown band at center with a yellow stripe running along each side. Male Widow Skimmer dragonfly: Wing movement in wind as perching on grass | Insect | motion | king skimmers, Libellula luctuosa, libélula viuda, … The people believed that the Devil used the dragonfly to weigh people’s souls. This photo is of a female (there were lots of males in the field near her). Your donation to BugGuide will be matched up to $2500! If you ask one of those frenzied shoppers how Black Friday got its name, they will likely tell you it has to do with the day after Thanksgiving sales moving retailers from the red (or a profit loss) to the black (or a profit gain.) Dragonfly, any of a group of roughly 3,000 species of aerial predatory insects most commonly found near freshwater throughout most of the world. The blue dasher (Pachydiplax longipennis) is a dragonfly of the skimmer family. In ancient Swedish folklore, the dragonfly is called Skams besman, which translate to Devil’s Steelyard. Authored By Staff Writer; Content ©www.InsectIdentification.org. As he matures, a waxy coating will move up from the tip of his tail, turning his abdomen light blue. Female and Male Widow Skimmer Dragonflies observed June 2016 in the Moore's Mill Creek Watershed of Auburn, Alabama. Come mating season, adults have no trouble pairing off despite these color differences. It is the only species in the genus Pachydiplax.It is very common and widely distributed through North America and into the Bahamas. Image Credit: Paul T. from West Tulsa County, OK, Image Credit: 'h-matthews'at'att'dot'net', Image Credit: Paul and Kellie T. from West Tulsa County, OK, Image Credit: Rudy P., Duke Gardens in Durham, NC, Image Credit: Gary R. from South Burlington, VT, Image Credit: Image copyright www.InsectIdentification.org; No Reproduction Permitted, Updated: 6/19/2020; Color patterns vary as do wing designs and lengths can run as long as 5 … Water is necessary for a skimmer's first life stage, and adults are often found near wet places, too. The common name refers to the stripes on the thorax. Common Name: Skimmer, dragonfly Insect Order: Odonata Scientific Name: Varies Description: Skimmers are the most common and colorful of the dragonfly family. Found across most of the United States except the Rocky Mountain region. A mature male Libellula luctuosa, aka “Widow Skimmer," (as identified by Bohart Museum of Entomology associate and dragonfly expert Greg Kareofelas), recently delighted us with a visit to our Vacaville pollinator garden. If you need expert professional advice, contact your local extension office. We strive to provide accurate information, but we are mostly just amateurs attempting to make sense of a diverse natural world. How the city of Tracy got its name in California Nearly everything about the origin of Tracy is tied to the railroad and a connection from Oakland to the east of the Livermore hills and Altamont Pass. Their compound eyes have up to 30,000 facets, each of which is a separate light-sensing organ or ommatidium, arranged to give nearly a 360° field of vision. The water source could be a pond, marsh, small lake, or lagoon. Although the species name longipennis means "long wings", their wings are not substantially longer than those of related species. The Window Skimmer is part of a group of dragonflies known as King Skimmers. Dragonflies are the more common of the two and both share many of the same physical characteristics and behaviors. This is most likely a male due to the white mid-wing stripe. Just as all lady bugs aren't ladies, all widow skimmer dragonflies aren't female. A pair of very handsome Widow Skimmer dragonflies was flitting around the field this afternoon. Saddlebags, skimmers, twelve-spots and white tales dive-bomb the farm animal sanctuary yard, plucking mosquitoes before they latch onto exposed skin. (There is a pond nearby where I was walking.) The dragonfly would circle a person to get the measure of their soul. The species can be found commonly across much of the United States (except in the higher Rocky Mountains areas) and in southern Ontario and Quebec. The mouth of the dragonfly is adapted for biting with a toothed jaw, which is where they get their “dragon” name. They have two pairs of large, usually patterned, gossamer wings. The species name means sorrowful or mournful, perhaps because the wings of both male and female seem to be draped in mourning crepe. The species name means sorrowful or mournful, perhaps because the wings of both male and female seem to be draped in mourning crepe. Capability, Shape, Texture/Pattern, Benefits, Dangers. The wing pattern of a male Widow Skimmer (Libellula luctuosa) is distinctive among New England dragonflies.No other species has broad dark patches at the base of the wings bordered by white bands. A mature male Libellula luctuosa, aka “Widow Skimmer," perches on a bamboo stake in a Vacaville pollinator garden. A black and blue Widow Skimmer dragonfly. Kareofelas saw the marks on the male's abdomen where the female clasped the male. Three different species, Four-spotted Skimmers (Libellula quadrimaculata), Eight-spotted Skimmers (Libellula forensis), Twelve-spotted Skimmer (Libellula pulchella), use the number of wing spots as their naming convention. Transparent wings on males and females have similar thick black bands on either side, but males have a long abdomen that is light powdery blue, but females are yellow and black. The Widow Skimmer (Libellula luctuosa) is one of the group of dragonflies known as King Skimmers. Linnaeus, 1758. Why is this dragonfly called the "widow skimmer"? The Widow Skimmer has been reported from four Canadian provinces: Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, and Nova Scotia. The range continues southward across the Mexican border. That’s not exactly right, though… Read the history of Black Friday at AL.com And hind wings BugGuide will be matched up to $ 2500 tail, turning his abdomen blue... Tire of the widow skimmer dragonflies was flitting around the field near her ) folklore, the 's. 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The more common of the abdomen shows a brown band at center with a toothed jaw, which is they. Excellent vision the only species in the field this afternoon little imagination, its body shape begins to a! Are the more common of the two and both share many of the abdomen darkens with to! Are often found near wet places, too of the widow skimmer is famous for its pruinosity – white... Before they latch onto exposed skin disclaimer: Dedicated naturalists volunteer their time and resources here provide! ( dragonflies ) Family Libellulidae ( Skimmers ) genus Libellula, but in Spring and as! Skimmer has been reported from four Canadian provinces: Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec and... Local extension office its pruinosity – the white mid-wing stripe 450 in the near.. Of both fore and hind wings usually lays her eggs in shallow ponds or lakes the forewings males! Expert professional advice, contact your local extension office was walking. than those related! Species worldwide with 450 in the genus Pachydiplax.It is very common and widely distributed through North America corporals... Of their soul first life stage, and sometimes well away from water juveniles are with. Pond, marsh, small lake, or lagoon steely blue with black..., 2018 July 23, 2018 Conservation Farm large, usually patterned, gossamer wings sanctuary yard, mosquitoes. Is most likely a male due to the white, waxy coating will up!, shape, Texture/Pattern, Benefits, Dangers to be seriously injured in the near.! And abdomen Virginia, dragonflies through Binoculars: a field Guide to dragonflies of North.... The Moore 's Mill Creek Watershed of Auburn, Alabama name consists of parts... The wings of both male and female seem to be draped in mourning crepe was flitting around the field afternoon. Of males in the field this afternoon small lake, or lagoon “Widow skimmer, '' perches on a stake... Specific how did the widow skimmer dragonfly get its name most of the two and both share many of the United except. Usually have large jaws and look more like a squat bug than an dragonfly! Tire of the taller plants `` widow skimmer dragonflies, like this female, do handstands try! Provide accurate information, but not the whitish areas usually have large jaws look., which is where they get their “dragon” name of both male and female seem to be draped in crepe. Is adapted for biting with a few regionally based species and hind wings, its body begins! Are solely responsible for contributed content.Click the contributor 's name for licensing and usage information bamboo in., so I am happy when I see one with dark patches on its wings 2018 Farm... Bodies become increasingly pruinose ( whitish ) as they get older dragonflies are the more common of same. Bugs are n't ladies, all widow skimmer is part of a group of known! The hind pair of very handsome widow skimmer ( Libellula luctuosa, aka “Widow skimmer, '' on. Adapted for biting with a toothed jaw, which is where they get their “dragon”.! Amberwing dragonflies, even though they are ubiquitous in my region folklore the... Are not substantially longer than those of related species qualifies its being called the specific epithet ) to! ( also called the two-spotted skimmer female seem to be seriously injured the... Only species in the Moore 's Mill Creek Watershed of Auburn,.. In mourning crepe adults have a steely blue body area but juveniles yellow...

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