blue dasher

(Pachydiplax longipennis)

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List

not yet assessed

blue dasher


N5 - Secure

SNR - Unranked


not listed


Fairly common


Early June to early September


Lakes, ponds, slow streams, ditches, and possibly bogs


Total Length: 1 to 1¾



This is a widespread, fairly common, small to medium-sized, 1 to 1¾ long skimmer.

The upper (dorsal) surface of the thorax is brown with greenish-yellow markings. There is a thin, pale, central (middorsal) stripe and two wider shoulder stripes. The sides of the thorax are greenish-yellow with three dark brown stripes.

The abdomen of the mature male is tapered and powdery blue (prunose) with a black tip. The female abdomen is much shorter, parallel-sided, and brownish-black. On abdominal segments 3 through 8 there is a pair of thin yellow dorsal stripes. Segment 9 is unmarked and segment 10 is pale.

The face is white. The top of the upper part of the face (frons) is metallic blue. The compound eyes meet along a long margin at the top of the head. They are blue or green in males, reddish-brown in females.

The wings are clear except for an amber patch at the base and a long dark stigma. They sometimes develop an uneven brownish-yellow tint. The forewings are slightly narrower than the hindwings.

Immature males have reddish-brown eyes and a brownish-black abdomen which becomes increasingly prunose as it matures. It usually takes about 9 days for the pruinescence to develop. Females sometimes develop pruinescence but much more slowly.


Eastern pondhawk (Erythemis simplicicollis) male develops pruinescence on the thorax as well as the abdomen. The face is green.

Larval Food

Aquatic insect larvae and freshwater shrimp

Adult Food

Mosquitoes, flies, butterflies, moths, mayflies, and other soft-bodied flying insects.

Life Cycle

After mating the females deposits eggs by flying close to the water surface and dipping the tip of her abdomen into water. While doing this, the male hovers nearby, standing guard. After the eggs hatch the young (naiads) live in submerged vegetation. When they mature the adults emerge from the water at night.


They perch on erect, slender plant stems. When perched their wings are lowered. Males joust over water by flying under an opponent and rising, forcing the opponent away from the water surface.

Distribution Distribution Map  

Sources: 7, 18, 27, 29.





Odonata (dragonflies and damselflies)






Anisoptera (dragonflies)






Libellulidae (skimmers)




blue dasher









The upper part of an insect’s face, roughly corresponding to the forehead.



The aquatic larval form (nymph) of a dragonfly, mayfly, or stonefly.



A waxy bloom that covers the underlying coloration and gives a dusty or frosty appearance.







Visitor Photos

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  Blue Dasher (Pachydiplax longipennis)
Bill Keim
  Blue Dasher (Pachydiplax longipennis)  
  Pachydiplax longipennis (Blue Dasher)
Allen Chartier
  Pachydiplax longipennis (Blue Dasher)  
  Blue Dasher
Victor Fazio
  Blue Dasher  




Visitor Videos

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Other Videos

  Blue Dasher (Pachydiplax longipennis) ~ Dragonfly Close Up
Wandering Sole Images

Published on Jun 26, 2015

A blue dasher (Pachydiplax longipennis) at Woodhaven Swamp in Belcarra Regional Park.

  dragonfly (Pachydiplax Longipennis)
Andrew Baita

Uploaded on Aug 16, 2010

dragon fly shot with canon t1i with 100mm macro 2.8 lens

  Blue Dasher - August 4, 2013
Don Gagnon

Published on Aug 5, 2013

Blue Dasher (Pachydiplax longipennis), Water Garden, Gagnon Wildlife Habitat, Pottersville, Somerset, Massachusetts, Sunday morning, August 4, 2013, 11:48 AM / 11:50 AM / 11:53 AM / 11:57 AM - Canon PowerShot SX50 HS MVI_38829 / MVI_38830 / MVI_38847 / MVI_38848; 3:33 min.

  Soul Mate (Blue Dasher)

Published on Jul 21, 2010

Blue Dasher dragonfly. This is the only dragonfly that lets me get really close.

The Blue Dasher (Pachydiplax longipennis) is a dragonfly of the skimmer family.

As do all dragonflies, they have excellent vision because of their large multi-faceted eyes.

They sometimes orient themselves in different positions relative to the sun, either to maximize or minimize heat gain, depending on temperature. They tip the abdomen upward in what is called the "obelisk" position.As they age, their wings are tattered from wear and tear.

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  Female Blue Dasher Dragonfly, Pachydiplax longipennis, San Diego, California
Melvin Wei

Published on Jun 26, 2012

I saw this dragonfly in the riparian habitat of Los Penasquitos Canyon Preserve. This is one of the more common dragonflies I've seen in San Diego county, although they generally dart around so fast I can't see the level of detail that I can with my camera at 14x optical zoom. It's not as conspicuous as the male flame skimmer dragonfly I posted a video of before, but the blue dasher is beautiful in its own right when you look at it for a few minutes up close. It took me a long time to identify this as a female blue dasher dragonfly (Pachydiplax longipennis), but based on the photos on various peoples' pages online it seems like the phenotypes can vary quite a bit for at least this species.

One thing I noticed about dragonflies is that they keep returning to the same perch to survey their territory. They don't do things in a randomized fashion. I knew that male dragonflies were territorial, but perhaps females have the same concepts in their heads regarding to hunting rights and territory.

I have a video of a male blue dasher dragonfly too, dated 2012-9-11.





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