black saddlebags

(Tramea lacerata)

               
Conservation Status

IUCN Red List

not yet assessed

black saddlebags

NatureServe

N5 - Secure

SNR - Unranked

Minnesota

not listed

Occurrence

Uncommon to rare

Flight/Season

Early June through September

Habitat

Ponds, lakes, marshes, backwaters of broad rivers, ditches, and sometimes temporary ponds, all with submerged vegetation

Size

Total Length: 1 to 23 16

Wingspan: 3¾ to 4

          Photo by Nancy Herfert

Identification

This is a medium-sized to large skimmer. It is common in southeastern Minnesota, rare in the forested northeast, and uncommon or absent in the rest of the state. Adults are 1 to 23 16 long and have a wingspan of 3¾ to 4. Females are larger than males. The body is teardrop-shaped and streamlined.

The thorax is brown with a black oval spot on each side. The upperside is densely covered with long, straight hairs.

The abdomen on males is mostly black. On females and juveniles there are whitish or yellowish spots on the upper (dorsal) side of abdominal segments 3 through 7 (S3–S7), the spots on S6 and S7 especially large. On the mature male these spots fade to black except on S7 and often S6.

The forewing is slender and clear except for a small, black cell (stigma) on the leading edge near the tip. The hindwing is much broader than the forewing. It has a black stigma and an irregular but consistently shaped black spot covering the inner quarter of the wing. The shape is often compared to a theater comedy mask in profile. The inner margin of the hindwing is rounded, not notched. The forewing and hindwing triangles are a different shape.

The face on males is black, on females and juveniles yellowish-brown. The compound eyes meet along a long margin at the top of the head. The hind margin of the compound eye is straight or only very slightly lobed.

The legs are black.

 
Similar
Species

 


Larval Food

Aquatic insect larvae and tadpoles.

 
Adult Food

Small flying insects

 
Life Cycle

Mating takes place on branched of trees near water. With the male hovering nearby, the female deposits eggs, one at a time, by dipping the tip of her abdomen in slow-moving or stagnant water.

 
Behavior

Males sometimes feed in large swarms.


Distribution Distribution Map  

Sources: 18, 24, 27, 29, 30, 72.


Comments

 


Taxonomy

Order:

Odonata (dragonflies and damselflies)

 

Suborder:

Epiprocta

 

Infraorder:

Anisoptera (dragonflies)

 

Superfamily:

Cavilabiata

 

Family:

Libellulidae (skimmers)

 
Synonyms

 

 
Common
Names

black saddlebags


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Glossary

stigma

In plants, the portion of the female part of the flower that is receptive to pollen. In Lepidoptera, an area of specialized scent scales on the forewing of some skippers, hairstreaks, and moths. In Odonata, a thickened, dark or opaque cell near the tip of the wing on the leading edge.

 

 

 

 

 

       

Visitor Photos

   
Share your photo of this insect.

Nancy Herfert


Is this a Widow Skimmer? I’ve never seen this in my yard in Plymouth, MN before. If you’re able to help me ID this, I’d appreciate it. Thank you.

  black saddlebags   black saddlebags

       
       
       

MinnesotaSeasons.com Photos

   
       
       
       

 

Camera

     

Slideshows

   
  Black Saddlebags Dragonfly
Henryr10
 
   

 

slideshow

     

Visitor Videos

   
Share your video of this insect.

     
     

Other Videos

 
  Black Saddlebags Dragonfly, "Saddle Bags" - September 14, 2013
Don Gagnon
 
   
 
About

Published on Sep 19, 2013

Black Saddlebags (Tramea lacerata) Dragonfly, Butterfly Garden, Mass Audubon Allens Pond Wildlife Sanctuary, 1280 Horseneck Road, Westport, Massachusetts, Saturday morning, September 14, 2013, 9:42 AM - Canon PowerShot SX50 HS MVI_47322

Music: "Saddle Bags-Teletunez" by Teletunez (Other, 1:20)

 
     
  Weird Bug with "6-Wings": "Black Saddlebags Dragonfly"
OrganicGarden123
 
   
 
About

Published on Aug 21, 2011

The "black saddlebags" are really part of the lower pair of wings, so really it is just 4 wings, that looks like 6.

 
     
  Female Black Saddlebags Dragonfly Release in Pleasantville, New York
Melvin Wei
 
   
 
About

Published on Sep 20, 2012

My father caught a female black saddlebags dragonfly and released it in this video on a lemon plant. The leaves were too slippery so the dragonfly struggled to get a foothold and fell off, but before it reached the ground it started a slow ascent upwards and flew up to about 10 meters and beyond above the ground, disappearing into the the cloudy sky...

Black saddlebags (Tramea lacerata) dragonflies are fairly common. Adults, especially the males, congregate in swarms. Some populations of this dragonfly undertake migrations.

 
     
  Tramea lacerata
Urban Life
 
   
 
About

Published on Sep 24, 2016

black saddlebags skimmer

 
     
  Tramea lacerata (Dragonfly Nymph) feeding on a small Gambusia.
comradetortoise
 
   
 
About

Published on Aug 17, 2013

Just a little Macro Video practice, taken on a white background on my desk at home. If you have any doubts about how horrifying dragonfly nymphs can be to small fish, tadpoles, or other invertebrates... well... doubt no more.

 
     

 

Camcorder

         

Visitor Sightings

   
Share your sighting of this insect.

Nancy Herfert
9/3/2017

Location: Plymouth, MN

Is this a Widow Skimmer? I’ve never seen this in my yard in Plymouth, MN before. If you’re able to help me ID this, I’d appreciate it. Thank you.

black saddlebags

 
John Valo
9/3/2017

The dragonfly in your photos is a black saddlebags (Tramea lacerata).


     
     
 

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