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 = 7

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Wandering Glider (Pantala flavescens) by Mark Shields
Compare with: Spot-winged Glider  
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 to both sexes. Male depicted here.

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Click on county for list of all its records for Wandering Glider
Flight Charts
Distribution Essentially statewide, but not as widespread in the mountains as downstate. Presumed to occur in all 100 counties.
Abundance A widespread species, seen often during the year, especially during the fall season. Abundance is difficult to assess or describe, as it is migratory and does not establish permanent colonies, though generally fairly common to common across the state, being somewhat more numerous in the Coastal Plain and eastern Piedmont than farther westward. Observers frequently see individuals in cities and towns, attempting to lay eggs on shiny car hoods; however, large numbers are seldom seen in a given day, and it is often missed in field work in "the country". Seems to be most often seen along or near the coast in the fall, migrating southward (presumably).
Flight Downstate, from early May to early December, most frequently reported in mid-summer and fall, though the highest numbers of individuals are seen from late August to late September. There is even a record for late December. In the mountains, the flight is mainly from early June to early October.
Habitat Unlike all other dragonflies except the related Spot-winged Glider, it uses small, temporary puddles and pools for depositing eggs. These can be rainwater pools on city streets, as well as puddles in powerline clearings and other ephemeral ponds.
Behavior Only the two gliders (Pantala) share the "wandering" habit of foraging. Males may patrol temporary pools where eggs have been laid, and females (of course) can be seen ovipositing in such temporary pools. However, they spend most of their time in wide-ranging flights, often 5-10 feet or higher, over all types of open country, from fields, marshes, towns, dunes, and even offshore! Like swallows and swifts, these dragonflies seldom seem to perch, but when found hanging from a twig, they can be somewhat unwary.
Comments Wandering Gliders can literally be seen anywhere, from downtown streets to over the Gulf Stream. Because they are constantly on the wing, identification can be difficult, and often one must assume that an amber-colored dragonfly, with no obvious wing markings (to rule out saddlebags, for example), is a Wandering Glider -- especially if seen close to the coast in the fall. A range map for this species is a bit misleading, as it is a hit-and-run type of breeder, with no site fidelity.
State Rank S5
State Status
Global Rank G5
Federal Status
Other Name
Species account update: LeGrand on 2023-01-17 09:31:33

Photo Gallery for Wandering Glider   27 photos are shown. Other NC Galleries:    Jeff Pippen    Will Cook    Ted Wilcox
Photo 1 by: Mark Shields

Comment: Hyde, 2023-08-19, Mattamuskeet National Wildlife Refuge
Photo 2 by: Lora Cline Loftin

Comment: McDowell; P, 2020-08-30, Marion
Photo 3 by: Harry LeGrand, Lori Arent

Comment: Wake, 2020-08-28, Wooten Meadows Park - photo by Lori Arent
Photo 4 by: p dixon

Comment: Madison, 2020-08-15, Hot Springs area
Photo 5 by: Mark Shields

Comment: Currituck, 2018-09-08, Historic Corolla Park, Corolla
Photo 6 by: Mike Turner

Comment: Yadkin, 2018-08-24, Yadkin River @ NC 67
Photo 7 by: Robert Gilson

Comment: Mecklenburg, 2018-06-26, Albert Stevens
Photo 8 by: Mark Shields

Comment: Duplin, 2017-09-19, Northeast Cape Fear River at Wayne's Landing Boating Access - pair in wheel while flying; female ovipositing in puddle
Photo 9 by: Mark Shields

Comment: Brunswick, 2017-09-16, Ev-Henwood Nature Preserve, Winnabow
Photo 10 by: Mark Shields

Comment: Pender, 2017-09-12, southern end of Topsail Island, sound side
Photo 11 by: Mark Shields

Comment: New Hanover, 2016-11-19, limesink ponds at Carolina Beach State Park
Photo 12 by: Mark Shields

Comment: New Hanover, 2015-09-13, Ft. Fisher State Recreation Area, Basin Trail
Photo 13 by: Mark Shields and Zoology lab students

Comment: Onslow, 2015-09-01, Coastal Carolina Community College, Jacksonville - at retention ponds
Photo 14 by: George Andrews

Comment: Mecklenburg, 2013-07-25, Beatty Park
Photo 15 by: Vin Stanton

Comment: Buncombe, 2012-09-11, Beaver Lake Asheville - Male
Photo 16 by: Mark Shields

Comment: Onslow, 2012-09-11, at Coastal Carolina Community College
Photo 17 by: Vin Stanton

Comment: Buncombe, 2012-08-13, Beaver Lake Asheville - Male & Female
Photo 18 by: Vin Stanton, Doug Johnston

Comment: Transylvania, 2011-08-19, Brevard
Photo 19 by: Vin Stanton

Comment: Henderson, 2011-08-14, Hooper Lane, Mills River area - Male and Female
Photo 20 by: Vin Stanton

Comment: Henderson, 2011-08-14, Hooper Lane, Mills River area - Male and Female
Photo 21 by: Vin Stanton

Comment: Henderson, 2011-08-14, Hooper Lane, Mills River area - Male and Female
Photo 22 by: Bob Oberfelder

Comment: Wake, 2011-07-31, Observed in Cary at Lochmere Golf Course, female
Photo 23 by: Doug Johnston, Simon Thompson, Jamie Harrelson

Comment: Transylvania, 2010-08-31, Brevard hospital grounds
Photo 24 by: M. Windsor

Comment: Dare; OBU, 2006-09-03, Jockeys Ridge State Park - explosion of dragonflies after tropical storm Ernesto, feeding on midges
Photo 25 by: R Emmitt

Comment: Craven, 2004-08-07, Croatan National Forest, Catfish Lake Road
Photo 26 by: Randy Newman

Comment: Carteret, 2003-10-19, Fort Macon State Park
Photo 27 by: Randy Newman

Comment: Carteret, 2003-10-19, Fort Macon State Park