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 = 6
Added in 2024 from a previous year = 1

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e.g., flight data, high counts, and earliest/latest dates can be seen.
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Painted Skimmer (Libellula semifasciata) by John Petranka
Compare with: Halloween Pennant  
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 Painted Skimmer
Flight Charts
Distribution Essentially statewide, though likely scarce at middle elevations and perhaps absent at higher elevations in the mountains. Occurs throughout the Piedmont and Coastal Plain, including counties along the coast.
Abundance Fairly common to occasionally common in the southern half of the Coastal Plain; uncommon to locally fairly common in the northern Coastal Plain and in the lower Piedmont; uncommon in the remainder of the Piedmont and lower mountains; scarce at higher elevations. Abundance is quite at odds with Dunkle (2000) for its entire range, and Beaton (2007) for GA, both which indicate "uncommon". Perhaps the species is more numerous in NC than in most other states. Seldom occurs in large numbers on a given day, but quite widespread, at least in much of the Coastal Plain.
Flight Late March to mid-September, and rarely to early October, in the Coastal Plain and Piedmont; however, not numerous after late July in the Coastal Plain and after mid-June in the Piedmont and mountains. In the mountains, the flight occurs from mid-April to mid-September, but is scarce after mid-summer. As with many species, the flights across the state are moving earlier every few years -- a sure sign of global warming.
Habitat Marshes, bogs or boggy areas, grassy ponds, and other pools; favors semi-wooded areas. Usually not seen around larger ponds or lakes.
Behavior Less likely to spend much time around ponds, pools, and marshes than most other skimmers. Instead, adults are typically seen foraging well away from water (thus not making it clear what might be the breeding habitat), often in fields, savannas, powerline clearings, and woodland borders. They often perch conspicuously on tips of twigs or grass stems.
Comments This skimmer seldom occurs in swarms, but is often seen daily, at least in the southern Coastal Plain in the first part of the flight season. Because of their flashy wing pattern -- males and females look almost alike -- individuals are easily noticed, even by beginners or casual observers. Be careful not to confuse it with the smaller Halloween Pennant, a more common species that also perches conspicuously on the tips of grass stems and twigs.
State Rank S5
State Status
Global Rank G5
Federal Status
Other Name
Species account update: LeGrand on 2023-01-16 18:13:19

Photo Gallery for Painted Skimmer   45 photos are available.
Only the most recent 30 are shown.
Other NC Galleries:    Jeff Pippen    Will Cook    Ted Wilcox
Photo 1 by: Mark Shields

Comment: Alexander, 2023-05-11, Rocky Face Mountain Recreational Area
Photo 2 by: Mark Shields, Brian Bockhahn, et al.

Comment: Gates, 2023-04-17, Merchants Millpond State Park
Photo 3 by: John Petranka

Comment: Sampson, 2021-07-13, Pondberry Bay Preserve. - Female.
Photo 4 by: Jan Hansen

Comment: Orange, 2021-04-09, Brumley North - marshy area along Stony Creek
Photo 5 by: Jan Hansen

Comment: Bladen, 2021-04-06, Bay Tree Lake SNA
Photo 6 by: Rob Van Epps, Kevin Metcalf

Comment: Scotland, 2020-04-17
Photo 7 by: Chuck Smith

Comment: Rowan, 2020-04-14, Eagle Point Nature Preserve. - Female.
Photo 8 by: Mark Shields, Hunter Phillips

Comment: Cumberland, 2020-03-19, Carvers Creek State Park (CACR) - Sandhills Access
Photo 9 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 10 by: p dixon

Comment: Madison, 2019-05-12, Hot Springs
Photo 11 by: Mark Shields, Hunter Phillips

Comment: Wayne, 2019-04-15, Cliffs of the Neuse State Park (CLNE)
Photo 12 by: Rob Van Epps

Comment: Mecklenburg, 2019-04-11, West Branch Rocky River Greenway
Photo 13 by: Doug Allen

Comment: Polk; P, 2019-04-07, FENCE (Foothills Equestrian Nature Center) - 1st Polk County record since before 2000
Photo 14 by: Aaron Edmonds

Comment: Harnett; C, 2018-08-23, Flat Branch
Photo 15 by: Mark Shields, John Petranka, Sally Gewalt

Comment: Jackson, 2018-06-26, Panthertown Valley, Nantahala National Forest - in bog. First record for county.
Photo 16 by: Mark Shields

Comment: Currituck, 2018-06-09, pond at Currituck Community Park near Maple
Photo 17 by: J. Brown

Comment: Dare; OBU, 2018-05-26, Run Hill State Natural Area
Photo 18 by: Mark Shields

Comment: Beaufort, 2018-05-25, Voice of America Game Land
Photo 19 by: Mark Shields

Comment: Edgecombe, 2018-05-25, Etheridge Pond, Tar River Game Land
Photo 20 by: Vin Stanton

Comment: Clay, 2018-05-12, Beaver pond along Buck Creek Road
Photo 21 by: Mark Shields and Hunter Phillips

Comment: Brunswick, 2018-04-02, Boiling Spring Lakes Preserve Nature Trail
Photo 22 by: Mark Shields

Comment: Jones, 2017-04-11, Weetock Trail near Haywood Landing, Croatan National Forest
Photo 23 by: Mark Shields

Comment: Onslow, 2017-04-08, my property, Holly Ridge
Photo 24 by: Mark Shields

Comment: Carteret, 2016-03-29, ponds along Patsy Pond Nature Trail, Croatan National Forest
Photo 25 by: Mark Shields

Comment: New Hanover, 2015-08-06, Carolina Beach State Park - at Lily Pond
Photo 26 by: Kristy Baker

Comment: Currituck, 2015-06-09, Pine Island Audubon Sanctuary
Photo 27 by: Kristy Baker

Comment: Dare; Mainland, 2015-06-07, Alligator River NWR - Charles Kuralt Trail
Photo 28 by: Kristy Baker

Comment: Tyrrell, 2015-06-06, Palmetto-Peartree Preserve
Photo 29 by: Salman Abdulali

Comment: Pitt, 2015-05-05, Boyd Lee Park
Photo 30 by: Owen McConnell

Comment: Graham, 2014-06-23, Tulula Wetlands