Dragonfly found beside road

2023 June 11

On June 6, 2023, I was walking alongside MacInnes drive on the way to where I park my car[1] when I saw this dragonfly on the sidewalk. Aside from some damage to the tip of the abdomen, it was in pretty good condition. When I picked it up, I found that it was almost (but not quite) dead, so I carried it to the car and put it into a box to bring home for pictures.

It does have some fairly prominent markings on the hindwings that one would think would be helpful for identification

It also has fairly pale brown and green eyes, and a white face.

And, it is one of the ones where the abdomen is thick close to the thorax, and kind of tapers off to the tail.

I am not having much luck narrowing this one down to the genus, though. BugGuide doesn’t seem to have anything that is a particularly great match. It might be one of the Whitefaces, genus Leucorrhinia, or perhaps one of the Pennants, genus Celithemis, or maybe one of the Saddlebags, genus Tramea. Or, maybe it is a completely different group altogether. I am not seeing anything that has all of the features combined in one insect, though. It could be that BugGuide simply doesn’t have a picture of this particular species yet.

Anyway, we have significant quantities of dragonflies of all species flying these days, which is nice to see because they eat a lot of biting flies.

Edited to add on June 14, 2023: Steve Plumb suggests in the comments that it may be a Four-Spotted Skimmer, Libellula quadrimaculata. I think he is correct.


[1] Yes, I could park down on the main campus, but the University charges $185/year to park near the building that has my office in it, as opposed to $65/year to park up in the lot next to the athletics building and football field. That requires walking about 3/4 of a mile each way, but it does save me $120/year in parking fees. Plus, I get the exercise of walking a total of 1.5 miles up and down a steep hill. As opposed to paying the University an extra $355/year so I can use the gym facilities. So, overall, I could argue that I’m saving about $475/year by parking up there and walking along MacInnes drive twice a day!

2 Responses
  1. Steve Plumb permalink
    June 13, 2023

    I’m no expert by any means but have noticed dead or dying dragons often have much faded colors. Especially in the eyes.
    Perusing iNaturalist I’d suggest Four-spotted Skimmer, Libellula quadrimaculata. What do you think?

  2. June 14, 2023

    Steve: I think you are most likely correct, that does look like the right one. Thanks!

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