The Dragonflies and Damselflies of North Carolina
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North Carolina's 188 Odonate species

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Related Species in LIBELLULIDAE: Number of records added in 2021 = 1

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Marl Pennant (Macrodiplax balteata) by Mark Shields
Compare with: Double-ringed Pennant   Black Saddlebags  
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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 Marl Pennant
flight charts
distribution Strictly coastal, ranging north in its overall range only to southeastern VA (three recent records only). Interestingly, the first record for GA came in 2006, and there are a number of recent county records for coastal SC. It is not clear if the species is a permanent resident or is at least partly migratory in NC.
abundance In recent years, generally uncommon to (and very locally) fairly common along the NC coast, essentially only from Pea Island southward. Dunkle (2000) calls it "common coastally", though that may apply mainly to FL. For whatever reason, until a decade ago there were very few records of the species north of FL, but owing to global warming or some other factors, the species is increasing in numbers or at least increasingly straying northward, in NC, SC, and GA.
flight The flight occurs from early June to the end of October; however, most records are from mid-August into October. This pattern of flight dates may suggest that the species is primarily a post-breeding migrant/stray from farther south. A resident pennant species should have a flight season starting at least by early summer, and have peak numbers in summer or before September. However, more data are needed to clarify the situation, and there is certainly the possibility that this species is a scarce resident (though maybe with immigrants moving into the state in fall).
habitat Unusual for most dragonfly species in NC; breeds in brackish ponds or other pools with high pH waters, such as possibly man-made marl ponds near the coast or other man-made lakes and ponds in coastal areas. The highest state counts have been at a natural lake (Lake Mattamuskeet) and from tidal marshes. Thus, it has a fairly wide array of sunny coastal habitats, from salt water (tidal marshes) to fresh water (lakes and ponds).
behavior Males perch at the pools or marsh edges, often on twigs or stems in the water; they make forays over the water. However, they may occur in fields or other open areas somewhat far away from coastal water. Apparently females also stay close to water when foraging.
comments Some important records of Marl Pennant were made in fall 2014 at Fort Macon State Park in Carteret County, with a former state record one-day count of 15 individuals, documented by several photos. A number of other recent records have been made, with photos now available for all coastal counties from Dare to Brunswick. Of the five primarily coastal dragonflies in NC -- along with Needham's Skimmer, Roseate Skimmer, Four-spotted Pennant, and Seaside Dragonlet -- the Marl Pennant is the only scarce species. Hopefully, it is a resident species in NC! Even if not, it can be somewhat reliably seen from the latter half of August into October at tidal marshes and other coastal waters.

state_status W
S_rank S2S3 [S3]
G_rank G5
date_spread [Overwinter:] [Date Spread:] [No Late Date:] [Split on Feb:] [Default:]
Species account update: LeGrand on 2021-02-09 14:19:16

Photo Gallery for Marl Pennant   17 photos are shown. Other NC Galleries:    Jeff Pippen    Will Cook    Ted Wilcox
Photo 1 by: Steve Taylor

Comment: Pamlico, 2020-09-19, Near Hobucken. iNaturalist record #60110384. - Male.
Photo 2 by: Mark Shields

Comment: Dare; OBL, 2019-06-14, Cape Hatteras National Seashore, old lighthouse site - 2 females, 1 immature male. Presence of immature male suggests that breeding may occur at this site.
Photo 3 by: Mark Shields

Comment: Dare; OBM, 2018-09-08, North Pond, Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge - 5 females, 2 males
Photo 4 by: Mark Shields

Comment: Onslow, 2018-08-28, northern tip of Topsail Island, adjacent to New River Inlet - 8 males, 8 females
Photo 5 by: Mark Shields

Comment: Onslow, 2018-08-20, Morris Landing Clean Water Preserve, Holly Ridge - Female perched in saltmarsh. First record for county.
Photo 6 by: Mark Shields, Hunter Phillips

Comment: Dare; OBL, 2018-06-29, pond at old Hatteras Lighthouse site, Cape Hatteras National Seashore - males
Photo 7 by: Mark Shields

Comment: Pender, 2017-09-13, Southern end of Topsail Island, sound side - female perched in saltmarsh. First record for county.
Photo 8 by: Mark Shields

Comment: New Hanover, 2015-09-13, Ft. Fisher State Recreation Area, Basin Trail - males
Photo 9 by: Mike Turner

Comment: Dare; OBL, 2015-09-11, Cape Point, Buxton; freshwater pond at 35.235931, -75.529496 - 7 adult males
Photo 10 by: Mike Turner

Comment: Dare; OBL, 2015-09-09, Cape Hatteras Lighthouse area - 2 adult males
Photo 11 by: Mark Shields

Comment: Hyde, 2015-07-08, Mattamuskeet NWR - perched along shoreline and in grass beside Central Canal Road
Photo 12 by: Kristy Baker

Comment: Dare; OBL, 2015-06-10, Cape Point Campground
Photo 13 by: B. Fleming, P. Branch

Comment: Carteret, 2014-10-04, Fort Macon State Park - Numerous examples seen on the tidal flats that flooded due to extremely high tides.
Photo 14 by: E. Corey

Comment: Hyde, 2010-09-15, Lake Mattamuskeet NWR - female
Photo 15 by: Joe Lafferty

Comment: Brunswick, 2009-07-26
Photo 16 by: Jeff Pippen - Jeff's website

Comment: Brunswick, 2007-08-25, Ocean Isle sewage treatment plant.
Photo 17 by: Jeffrey Pippen - Jeff's website

Comment: Brunswick, 2007-08-25, Ocean Isle sewage treatment plant.