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

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Related Species in LIBELLULIDAE: Number of records added in 2021 = 10

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Twelve-spotted Skimmer (Libellula pulchella) by Beth Brinson
Compare with:   Distinctive
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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 Twelve-spotted Skimmer
flight charts
distribution A partly migratory species. Mountains, Piedmont, and western half of the Coastal Plain; seemingly absent in the eastern 40-50% of the Coastal Plain, as there are no records east of Gates, Pitt, Lenoir, and Pender counties. Resident only in the mountains and parts of the western Piedmont; rather seasonal (mostly spring and fall only) in the eastern half of the state.
abundance Uncommon to locally fairly common in the mountains. Uncommon in the Piedmont as a whole, though a migrant through much of the province, and in the eastern portions can be rather rare and is not resident there. A rare migrant in the western half of the Coastal Plain, where seen mainly in fall migration.
flight In the mountains, where it is a resident (though some records might refer to migrants), the flight is from late April to late September. The Piedmont set of flight dates is from very late April to mid-Otober, with a stray record for early November. The fact that there is a clear dip in records in midsummer in the Piedmont flight chart is a strong indication that the species is mainly a migrant, seen mostly in spring/early summer and late summer/fall. In the Coastal Plain, where migratory, the dates range from mid-May to mid-October, with most being from late August into October.
habitat Ponds, lakes, and marshes, typically in open situations; may oviposit in small, temporary pools.

See also Habitat Account for General Beaver Ponds and Semi-natural Impoundments
behavior Males are very conspicuous as they patrol, often hovering, over their pools and ponds. Adults are similar to other skimmers in that they often forage well away from water in fields and wooded borders.
comments Much is still to be learned about its biology in NC. This species is one of the few dragonflies that is partly migratory in the state. Individuals appear in the Coastal Plain and in much of the Piedmont at sites away from breeding waters, often where observers are quite familiar with the general area. Plus, they are seen mainly in spring or late summer/fall. The female looks quite similar to the female Common Whitetail and thus could be overlooked. However, adult males are very conspicuous and elicit much excitement when seen, because of their "snazzy" appearance and relative scarcity in NC.
state_status
S_rank S4
fed_status
G_rank G5
date_spread [Overwinter:] [Date Spread:] [No Late Date:] [Split on Feb:] [Default:]
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Species account update: LeGrand on 2021-02-09 11:49:54

Photo Gallery for Twelve-spotted Skimmer   25 photos are shown. Other NC Galleries:    Jeff Pippen    Will Cook    Ted Wilcox
Photo 1 by: Harry LeGrand, Lori Arent

Comment: Granville, 2021-05-20, Butner powerline clearing - female; photo by Lori Arent
Photo 2 by: p dixon

Comment: Madison, 2021-05-15, Hot Springs area
Photo 3 by: B. Bockhahn

Comment: Rowan, 2021-04-30,
Photo 4 by: B. Bockhahn

Comment: Stokes, 2019-08-20, Hanging Rock State Park, Vade Mecum area
Photo 5 by: John Petranka, Jim Petranka and party.

Comment: Avery, 2019-05-21, Pond on private property that adjoins the Blue Ridge Parkway in southern Avery County. - Male.
Photo 6 by: p dixon

Comment: Madison, 2019-05-21, Hot Springs area
Photo 7 by: Mike Turner

Comment: Wilkes; P, 2018-09-22, W. Kerr Scott Dam and Reservoir; from dam to ~1000' downstream
Photo 8 by: John Petranka, Sally Gewalt

Comment: Orange, 2018-09-20, Brumley Forest Preserve, North side of NC 10 at silo pond. - Male.
Photo 9 by: Mike Turner

Comment: Forsyth, 2018-07-02, Tanglewood Park - adult male
Photo 10 by: Mark Shields

Comment: Jackson, 2018-06-25, Pond beside Breedlove Road, 5 km northeast of Cashiers - First record for county
Photo 11 by: Barbara McRae

Comment: Macon, 2018-06-09, Wetland area near Little Tennessee River, Franklin
Photo 12 by: Mike Turner

Comment: Watauga, 2018-06-02, Brookshire Park; Boone - adult males
Photo 13 by: Guy McGrane

Comment: Ashe, 2017-07-18, Pond Mountain Game Land, at one of the ponds on top of the mountain. Including photo just for verification - Male
Photo 14 by: M. Tschopp

Comment: Wake, 2015-08-16, North Wake Landfill District Park
Photo 15 by: Steve Hall and Harry LeGrand

Comment: Northampton, 2012-05-17, Roanoke River Wetlands Game Land, along both sides of US 258 north of the Roanoke River - female
Photo 16 by: Vin Stanton, Janie Owens, Gail Lankford

Comment: Haywood, 2011-08-13, Cataloochee Valley, Great Smoky Mountains NP - Male
Photo 17 by: Curtis Smalling

Comment: Watauga, 2011-06-10, Meat Camp Creek Environmental Studies Area
Photo 18 by: Doug Johnston

Comment: Buncombe, 2011-06-05, - Leicester patch
Photo 19 by: Mark Shields

Comment: Pender, 2010-10-13, Holly Shelter Game Land - apparent first record for Pender Co.
Photo 20 by: Doug Johnston

Comment: Buncombe, 2010-06-08, - Leicester patch
Photo 21 by: Curtis Smalling

Comment: Watauga, 2010-05-26, Meat Camp Creek Environmental Studies Area
Photo 22 by: Vin Stanton

Comment: Henderson, 2009-09-24, Fletcher Park
Photo 23 by: Vin Stanton

Comment: Buncombe, 2009-09-13, Beaver Lake, Asheville
Photo 24 by: Beth Brinson

Comment: Alleghany, 2009-06-27, Blue Ridge Parkway, Male
Photo 25 by: Ted Wilcox

Comment: Ashe, 2005-09-07, male