The Dragonflies and Damselflies of North Carolina
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North Carolina's 189 Odonate species

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Sort Species by: Family   Scientific Name       [ Undocumented ]
Related Species in LIBELLULIDAE: Number of records for 2024-00-00 = 34

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e.g., flight data, high counts, and earliest/latest dates can be seen.
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Widow Skimmer (Libellula luctuosa) by Mark Shields
Compare with:   Distinctive
Identification Tips: Move the cursor over the image, or tap the image if using a mobile device, to reveal ID Tips.
Note: these identification tips apply specifically to mature males; features may differ in immature males and in females.

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Click on county for list of all its records for Widow Skimmer
Flight Charts
Distribution Essentially statewide; only two extreme eastern Coastal Plain counties lack records. Presumably present in all counties.
Abundance Generally very common in the Piedmont and lower mountains; fairly common in the western Coastal Plain, though numbers decrease toward the coast, such that it is scarce in the eastern counties. Common in the middle elevations of the mountains. One of the more numerous dragonflies in the mountain province.
Flight Downstate, early or mid-April to mid-October, but not numerous until late May. In the mountains, the flight is from mid-May to late September, sparingly to mid-October.
Habitat Typical breeding sites as for other skimmers -- ponds, small lakes, marshes, and pools.

See also Habitat Account for General Pond Shorelines
Behavior Unlike most other skimmers, this species typically moves away from water to spend most of its time foraging in fields, powerline clearings, woodland borders, and other sunny to partly sunny places. Adults often perch on twigs of woody plants or on herbaceous vegetation, in such open areas.
Comments This might be the "flashiest" of our skimmers, as they are quite common, perch in open places within easy view, and have bold wing patterns. The wide black and frosted white bands of the male are impossible to miss when on the wing. Numbers of the species are seldom large at any given locale, as they seem territorial, and swarms are not generally noted. Nonetheless, it can occasionally be the most often seen dragonfly on a Piedmont walk, especially away from pond margins.
State Rank S5
State Status
Global Rank G5
Federal Status
Other Name
Species account update: LeGrand on 2023-01-16 18:00:02

Photo Gallery for Widow Skimmer   42 photos are available.
Only the most recent 30 are shown.
Other NC Galleries:    Jeff Pippen    Will Cook    Ted Wilcox
Photo 1 by: Amy Padgett

Comment: Bladen, 2024-07-15, Lock &
Photo 2 by: Guy McGrane

Comment: Avery, 2024-07-13, Mill Pond - At pond edge on vegetation
Photo 3 by: Amy G. Padgett

Comment: Bladen, 2024-05-28 by the boat ramp, - 1:26PM, Elwell Ferry Ramp, Kelly, NC
Photo 4 by: Nora Murdock, Keith Langdon, Robert Emmott

Comment: Swain, 2021-07-06,
Photo 5 by: Guy McGrane

Comment: Watauga, 2020-08-01, Brookshire Park
Photo 6 by: Mike Turner

Comment: Forsyth, 2018-07-01, Winston Lake - 15 adult males
Photo 7 by: Mark Shields

Comment: Jackson, 2018-06-25, Pond beside Breedlove Road, 5 km northeast of Cashiers
Photo 8 by: Mark Shields

Comment: Craven, 2018-06-16, Swift Creek; 7 km section between Cool Springs Boating Access Area and NC 43 bridge, by kayak
Photo 9 by: Mark Shields

Comment: Chowan, 2018-06-09, Edenton National Fish Hatchery
Photo 10 by: Mark Shields

Comment: Edgecombe, 2018-05-25, Etheridge Pond, Tar River Game Land
Photo 11 by: Mark Shields

Comment: Duplin, 2017-09-03, Northeast Cape Fear River, Kenansville Boating Access Area
Photo 12 by: Mark Shields

Comment: Lenoir, 2017-08-01, Neuseway Nature Park, Kinston
Photo 13 by: Guy McGrane

Comment: Watauga, 2017-07-17, Boone Greenway-created wetland area
Photo 14 by: Vin Stanton

Comment: Buncombe, 2017-06-11, Owen Park, Warren Wilson College - Female and Male
Photo 15 by: Barbara McRae

Comment: Macon, 2017-06-12, Franklin, Little Tennessee River, wetland near Greenway - Perched in wetland near river
Photo 16 by: Mark Shields

Comment: Rutherford; P, 2017-06-02, Morse Park, Lake Lure
Photo 17 by: Mark Shields

Comment: Onslow, 2017-05-29, Stones Creek Game Land
Photo 18 by: Curtis Smalling

Comment: Avery, 2015-07-03, Banner Elk Greenway Trail
Photo 19 by: Curtis Smalling

Comment: Wilkes; M, 2015-06-16, WRC fishing put-in on Triplett Rd. - foraging away from water
Photo 20 by: Owen McConnell

Comment: Cherokee, 2015-06-15, Cherokee Lake (a dammed creek arm of Hiwassee Lake)
Photo 21 by: Conrad Wernett

Comment: Onslow, 2014-06-29 - Seen at retention pond and along New River
Photo 22 by: Conrad Wernett

Comment: Jones, 2014-06-22 - Two males spotted at Brocks Mill
Photo 23 by: Dick Thomas

Comment: Guilford, 2013-07-22, Piedmont Environmental Center, High Point - patrolling over Sunnyvale Rd
Photo 24 by: Doug Johnston, Vin Stanton

Comment: Graham, 2013-07-16, Tulula Bog - Male & Female
Photo 25 by: Nancy Cowal

Comment: McDowell; M, 2012-08-31, Old Fort, submitted by Vin Stanton - Male & Female
Photo 26 by: Vin Stanton, Doug Johnston, Simon Thompson

Comment: Polk; P, 2012-08-04, Foothills Equestrian Nature Center (FENCE) - Male & Female
Photo 27 by: Owen McConnell

Comment: Durham, 2012-06-13, Quail Roost - young male
Photo 28 by: Doug Johnston

Comment: Madison, 2012-06-08, Leach pond, close to Sandy Mush Game Land
Photo 29 by: Vin Stanton, Doug Johnston

Comment: Transylvania, 2011-08-19, Brevard - Male & Female
Photo 30 by: Bob Oberfelder

Comment: Wake, 2011-07-29, Observed in Cary at Lochmere Golf Course, female