July 2nd, 2010


More Urban Species #20: Widow Skimmer

Widow Skimmer Dragonfly Libellula luctuosa

Dragonflies breed near water, and their nymphs live there, feeding on mosquito larvae and other aquatic insects, and the adults are most often found within a short distance of ponds or lakes. Widow skimmers, like this female photographed in Franklin Park, a mile or so from the nearest significant body of water, will fly to far off fields to hunt insects. Male dragonflies of most species engage in battles to defend the territory where their mates have laid eggs. Not so the widow skimmer, thus the colorful name. The animals themselves are colorful and show sexual dimorphism: the female has these distinctive yellow stripes, while the male is bluish with unique white and black markings on its wings.