The Widow Skimmer

Mosquitoes are thick this summer in Indiana. Fortunately, some of our insect friends are trying to keep their numbers down.

The Widow Skimmer, Libellula luctuosa, is a dragonfly, commonly found in Indiana and much of the Eastern US. It’s Latin name, luctuosa, means “sorrowful”. Widow skimmer refers to the black (or widow) patches on the wings. The male and female Widow Skimmers are dimorphic. The males have white borders next to the black wing patches. The female lacks the white borders. The females have a bright yellow stripe longitudinal stripe down the center of the thorax that branches into 2 stripes on the abdomen.

The Widow Skimmers commonly perch on foliage waiting for mosquitoes and other small flies to approach. The Skimmers will fly up off the foliage to capture and eat the mosquitoes. A single dragonfly can eat about 300 mosquitoes in one day.

Female Widow Skimmer Dragonfly

About jjneal

Jonathan Neal is an Associate Professor of Entomology at Purdue University and author of the textbook, Living With Insects (2010). This blog is a forum to communicate about the intersection of insects with people and policy. This is a personal blog. The opinions and materials posted here are those of the author and are in no way connected with those of my employer.
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1 Response to The Widow Skimmer

  1. Anonymous says:

    I think you should write what eats the widow skimmer to SERIOUSLY!

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