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

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Related Species in MACROMIIDAE: Number of records for 2024-00-00 = 0

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Royal River Cruiser (Macromia taeniolata) by Kevin Metcalf
Compare with: Allegheny River Cruiser   Swift River Cruiser   Mountain River Cruiser  
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 Royal River Cruiser
Flight Charts
Distribution Essentially throughout the Coastal Plain, and widely scattered over most of the Piedmont. A photo record in 2016 extended the state range into the northwestern Piedmont (to Wilkes County). Apparently absent from the mountains.
Abundance Difficult to determine because of similarity of appearance to the Swift River Cruiser and the fact that river cruisers perch infrequently or too high in trees for easy observation/photography. Based on the number of records (mostly collections and recent photos), fairly common to common in the southern half of the Coastal Plain, and uncommon in the northern half, though this difference is possibly due to the comparative scarcity of field work in the northern counties. It is clearly rare to quite uncommon in the Piedmont, though it possibly might be increasing there.
Flight Late May to mid-October in the Coastal Plain. Not surprisingly, as there are many fewer records, the known flight in the Piedmont is from early June to mid-September, and very sparingly to mid-October.
Habitat Mostly around larger creeks and rivers, rarely at lakes.

See also Habitat Account for General Rivers and Large Streams
Behavior Males cruise long distances over rivers and larger creeks, mostly about 3 feet above the water, and the flight is slower than in other river cruisers. Away from water, they behave like most other river cruisers, flying long beats over roads and sunny trails in forested areas. However, they tend to fly higher than the others in the genus, often 15 or more feet off the ground.
Comments This is one of the longest of the state's dragonflies. However, its abdomen is quite slender, and thus when seen overhead in flight over a road, one can separate it from the similar-sized Swamp Darner (which has a robust and tapered abdomen). Though reportedly it perches often, most will be seen in flight, where it often occurs with Swamp Darners. Because it can be easily confused with other river cruisers, and as the Swift River Cruiser is numerous within the range of this species, observers must be cautious when submitting sight records for the Royal River Cruiser. Mark Shields found the species to be fairly common to common along some of the rivers he cruised from 2015 to 2018, and we now have several daily counts of at least 30 individuals.
State Rank S4S5
State Status
Global Rank G5
Federal Status
Other Name
Species account update: LeGrand on 2023-01-11 10:38:15

Photo Gallery for Royal River Cruiser   24 photos are shown. Other NC Galleries:    Jeff Pippen    Will Cook    Ted Wilcox
Photo 1 by: Kyle Kittelberger

Comment: Wake, 2020-07-30
Photo 2 by: S. McMurray

Comment: Chatham, 2018-07-13, Jordan Lake - Found on road at Poplar Point Campground F Loop
Photo 3 by: Richard Stickney

Comment: Pender, 2018-07-09, Holly Shelter boat launch off Shaw Highway - immature male
Photo 4 by: Robert Gilson

Comment: Mecklenburg, 2018-06-27, Albert Stevens
Photo 5 by: Mark Shields

Comment: Craven, 2018-06-16, Swift Creek; 7 km section between Cool Springs Boating Access Area and NC 43 bridge, by kayak. First record for county.
Photo 6 by: Mark Shields

Comment: Duplin, 2017-09-04, Northeast Cape Fear River, from Chinquapin Boating Access Area to 4.25 km upstream by kayak
Photo 7 by: Mark Shields

Comment: Brunswick, 2017-07-30, Ev-Henwood Nature Preserve, Winnabow
Photo 8 by: Mark Shields

Comment: Washington, 2017-06-16, Conaby Creek, from boating access area to 2.25 km upstream by kayak
Photo 9 by: Kevin Metcalf

Comment: Mecklenburg, 2016-10-01, First Mecklenburg Co. record - Latta Plantation Nature Preserve. Observed flying and perched. Kevin Metcalf, Chris Talkington and Rob Van Epps
Photo 10 by: Mark Shields

Comment: Robeson, 2016-09-25, Lumber River, between Boardman Boating Access and Piney Island Campsite
Photo 11 by: Mark Shields

Comment: Columbus, 2016-08-27, Lumber River, between Boardman Boating Access and Lumber River State Park - Princess Ann Access
Photo 12 by: John Petranka, Sally Gewalt

Comment: Wilkes; P, 2016-08-23, Kerr Scott Lake at Smithey
Photo 13 by: Mark Shields

Comment: Onslow, 2016-07-23, Southwest Creek, from boat ramp off Verona Loop Rd. upstream to US Highway 17 bridge
Photo 14 by: Mark Shields

Comment: Pamlico, 2015-09-04, Upper Broad Creek at Lee
Photo 15 by: Mark Shields

Comment: Sampson, 2015-08-23, Black River by kayak from Ivanhoe Boating Access to 0.5 km upstream of Dr Kerr Rd bridge - Common. 2 males netted; note incomplete ring on S2, lack of club, small paired yellow spots on S8, lack of lateral spots under S7-9, no connection between lateral stripe and dorsal spots on S3.
Photo 16 by: Mark Shields

Comment: Bladen, 2015-08-09, Black River by kayak, between NC 53/11 bridge and Hunts Bluff Wildlife ramp
Photo 17 by: Mark Shields

Comment: Pender, 2015-07-11, Shelter Creek by kayak, from confluence with NE Cape Fear River to about 2 km upstream
Photo 18 by: Conrad Wernett, Alyssa Wernett

Comment: Columbus, 2015-06-28, - One netted, several other seen; likely same species in Waccamaw River below Lake Waccamaw.
Photo 19 by: Conrad Wernett, Alyssa Wernett

Comment: Jones, 2015-06-28, - Found at landing along the White Oak River
Photo 20 by: George Andrews

Comment: Union, 2013-09-02, - NW shoreline of lake.
Photo 21 by: Beth Brinson

Comment: Rockingham, 2009-08-01, Haw River State Park
Photo 22 by: Beth Brinson

Comment: Rockingham, 2009-08-01, Haw River State Park
Photo 23 by: R Emmitt

Comment: Columbus, 2003-05-24, knocked out of the sky by a Swamp Darner
Photo 24 by: Randy Emmitt

Comment: Columbus Co., 2003-05-24