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 = 1
Added in 2024-00-00 from a previous year = 1

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Roseate Skimmer (Orthemis ferruginea) 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.

[Google images]     [Global Biodiversity Information Facility]      iNaturalist
Click on county for list of all its records for Roseate Skimmer
Flight Charts
Distribution A northbound stray or migrant in most areas of the state, but almost certainly now a resident in the southeastern counties, north to Carteret County, and also apparently a breeding resident at a pond in Cabarrus County in the Piedmont (in 2021-2022). Widely scattered over the Coastal Plain and now the Piedmont, and with two recent sightings from Henderson County in the mountains. Greatly expanding its range northward; thus, the county map will likely become out-of-date very quickly. Primarily found along the southern coast, north somewhat regularly to Carteret County, but one must assume it is not a resident (yet) in most non-coastal counties, based on its very spotty range inland and numerous "one-time-only" records.
Abundance Increasing in recent years; probably rare 10 or 20 years ago. Now, it is generally uncommon in coastal counties northward to Carteret County, but it can be locally fairly common at a few sites north into Onslow County. Very rare visitor or stray farther inland and northward. Our peak single-day count is just nine individuals, though this number should be surpassed in the next few years.
Flight Late May to late November, with one mid-December record; mostly from late August to mid-November. These dates suggest a fall migrant species, moving north after breeding farther to our south. However, there are a few sites along and near the coast -- and now at a single known site in the central Piedmont -- where it is a resident.
Habitat Generally at ponds, marshes, and lakes. Despite it being seen mainly near the coast, most breeding waters are probably fresh, though it does use brackish waters.
Behavior Males are very conspicuous as they perch on twigs at their pools or ponds; they are quite active and do much chasing and patrolling. Adults will often feed well away from pools, as do most other skimmers.
Comments The deep rose-pink color of the male's abdomen is not often seen in the animal kingdom, even in birds or butterflies, and is more reminiscent of the rosy color of the petals of many wildflowers! This species is currently undergoing a rapid northward expansion in the range and in numbers. It is not hard to find at various places around Wilmington, such as near gardens and other suburban places. But questions remain, especially regarding residency status in NC away from the southern coast. It was dropped as a Watch List species by the N.C. Natural Heritage Program in fall 2010. A review of iNaturalist photos in late 2022, plus other records submitted to this website, added several new county records, all in the Coastal Plain.
State Rank S3S4
State Status
Global Rank G5
Federal Status
Other Name
Species account update: LeGrand on 2023-01-24 15:14:26

Photo Gallery for Roseate Skimmer   27 photos are shown. Other NC Galleries:    Jeff Pippen    Will Cook    Ted Wilcox
Photo 1 by: Lydia Pultorak

Comment: Washington, 2024-06-12, - Weyerhauser property near Roper. Adult male.
Photo 2 by: Matt Spangler

Comment: Chatham, 2023-09-08, Jordan Lake--New Hope Creek - Male patrolling and occasionally perching; possibly blown in from the gulf by H. Idalia?
Photo 3 by: Max Ramey

Comment: Wilkes; P, 2023-08-27, Roaring River slough (36.202453, -81.004158) - Male
Photo 4 by: Harry LeGrand, Lori Arent, Lori White

Comment: Wake, 2022-09-20, NC Museum of Art Grounds - Immature male; perched across from the apiary; photo by Lori Arent
Photo 5 by: Amy Padgett

Comment: Bladen, 2022-08-14, Swampy early successional cutover just southeast of Clarkton. 34.460318, -78.637844 , iNaturalist #130940973 - Female
Photo 6 by: Paul Hart

Comment: Harnett; C, 2022-08-01, Lillington - Female
Photo 7 by: Paul Hart

Comment: Harnett; C, 2022-08-01, Lillington - Female
Photo 8 by: Travis McLain

Comment: Cabarrus, 2022-06-24, At private pond SW of Concord. iNaturalist record #127740550 - Female
Photo 9 by: Travis McLain

Comment: Cabarrus, 2022-05-27, At private pond SW of Concord. iNaturalist record #119465896 - Male
Photo 10 by: Mark Shields

Comment: New Hanover, 2021-12-03, Carolina Beach State Park, limesink ponds
Photo 11 by: Kevin Metcalf

Comment: Mecklenburg, 2021-09-17, - retention pond in Steele Creek area
Photo 12 by: Ken Kneidel

Comment: Mecklenburg, 2019-08-20, pond margin, Chantilly Park, Charlotte
Photo 13 by: Mike Turner

Comment: Yadkin, 2019-06-23, Yadkin River @ NC 67; Donnaha paddle access - female
Photo 14 by: Mark Shields

Comment: New Hanover, 2017-11-18, Carolina Beach State Park (CABE), limesink ponds - 2 males, 1 female
Photo 15 by: j.wyche

Comment: Gates, 2017-10-15, Merchants Millpond State Park - in front of visitor center; female. ID confirmed on BugGuide
Photo 16 by: Robby Deans

Comment: Craven, 2017-10-14, New Bern. Near Jct. US 17/70 and M.L.K. Jr. Blvd.. Originally posted on iNaturalist: - Male.
Photo 17 by: Mark Shields

Comment: Onslow, 2017-09-10, my property, Holly Ridge - female
Photo 18 by: Conrad Wernett

Comment: Onslow, 2017-08-19, - 4 males, 1 female - Jacksonville retention pond
Photo 19 by: Mark Shields

Comment: Onslow, 2017-07-13, male at retention pond, Coastal Carolina Community College, Jacksonville
Photo 20 by: Mark Shields

Comment: Pender, 2015-09-01, Holly Shelter Game Land
Photo 21 by: Mike Turner

Comment: Wake, 2014-09-26, Yates Mill County Park - female/immature male
Photo 22 by: Mike Turner

Comment: Cumberland, 2013-09-05, Rhodes Pond - males
Photo 23 by: Matthew Daw

Comment: Durham, 2009-08-18 - Falls Lake north of I-85
Photo 24 by: Ted Wilcox

Comment: Brunswick, 2007-08-25, Sea Trail Golf Course
Photo 25 by: Jeff Pippen

Comment: New Hanover, 2006-08-26, also seen by H. LeGrand
Photo 26 by: Kathleen Sweaney

Comment: Mecklenburg, 2003-08-28, McDowell Nature Preserve
Photo 27 by: Randy Newman

Comment: Carteret, 2003-08-16, Fort Macon State Park - female on soundside service road.