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 CORDULIIDAE: Number of records for 2024-00-00 = 6

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Selys's Sundragon (Helocordulia selysii) by John Petranka
Compare with: Uhler's Sundragon  
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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 Selys's Sundragon
Flight Charts
Distribution Nearly throughout the Piedmont and the Coastal Plain, though apparently absent from the eastern part of the latter region (no records east of Hertford and Beaufort counties). Of sporadic occurrence in the western Piedmont, possibly absent from a few of these counties. No mountain records.
Abundance Uncommon to occasionally or locally fairly common in the eastern half of the Piedmont and the southern Coastal Plain. Slightly less numerous (uncommon) in the central and northwestern Coastal Plain; rare to uncommon in the western Piedmont.
Flight First two-thirds of the spring season only; very late February or early March to late May in the Coastal Plain, and mid-March to late May in the Piedmont.
Habitat Small creeks and trickles, where sandy, and typically in shaded or semi-shaded places.

See also Habitat Account for Wet-Mesic Forests with Seepages/Headwater Streams
Behavior Its behavior is similar to that of baskettails, with males patrolling small areas along creeks. However, as with baskettails, adults frequently move well away from water, feeding along dirt roads and wide, sunny trails, perching like those species in an oblique manner on twigs close to the ground. They can be somewhat unwary and studied/photographed at close range.
Comments As Dunkle (2000) calls the species "uncommon" over its range, and Beaton (2007) calls it "Uncommon to rare" in its GA range, the species must be more numerous in NC than in most other states in its range. Active field biologists can often find one or two each spring, though it seldom occurs in numbers. At first glance the two sundragons (genus Helocordulia) resemble baskettails (genus Epitheca), but their spindle-shaped abdomen (narrowed at the anterior end) and ochre-orange band/ring on abdominal segment 3 separates the two genera.
State Rank S4
State Status
Global Rank G4
Federal Status
Other Name
Species account update: LeGrand on 2023-01-16 09:04:13

Photo Gallery for Selys's Sundragon   28 photos are shown. Other NC Galleries:    Jeff Pippen    Will Cook    Ted Wilcox
Photo 1 by: Amy Padgett

Comment: Bladen, 2024-04-04, Turnbull Creek Educational State Forest - Along creek path, in a sunny spot
Photo 2 by: Matt Spangler

Comment: Richmond; C, 2024-03-31, Sandhills GL Block A near Lake Bagget
Photo 3 by: K. Metcalf, R. Van Epps

Comment: Richmond; C, 2024-03-29, Lake Bagget area
Photo 4 by: Kevin Metcalf

Comment: Rockingham, 2023-04-29, male and female seen - 2 males, one female
Photo 5 by: Max Ramey

Comment: Moore; C, 2023-03-25, Weymouth Woods
Photo 6 by: B. Bockhahn

Comment: Catawba, 2022-04-16, Wilderness Gateway State Trail - Jacob Fork East
Photo 7 by: Doug Allen

Comment: Polk; P, 2021-04-04, Caroland Farms private land and ponds - on trail near stream
Photo 8 by: Matt Spangler

Comment: Moore; C, 2021-03-28, Sandhills CC Horticultural Gardens - wheel
Photo 9 by: Jan Hansen

Comment: Moore; C, 2021-03-14, - Sandhills CC Gardens
Photo 10 by: Mark Shields, Hunter Phillips

Comment: Cumberland, 2020-03-19, Carvers Creek State Park (CACR) - Sandhills Access
Photo 11 by: John Petranka

Comment: Scotland, 2020-03-02, Lumber River State Park (LURI), Chalk Banks Access. Along gated road near the picnic area. Perched low to ground in sunny patches. - 4 females, 1 male. All appear to be pre-reproductive; male perched near females showed no interest in mating. None observed patrolling the river banks. Female photographed.
Photo 12 by: Mike Turner

Comment: Scotland, 2020-02-23, Lumber River State Park-Chalk Banks Access
Photo 13 by: Mark Shields

Comment: Moore; C, 2019-04-18, Drowning Creek at Moore County Line Road bridge
Photo 14 by: Mark Shields

Comment: Brunswick, 2019-03-30, Boiling Spring Lakes Preserve Nature Trail - 1 male, 1 female
Photo 15 by: Mike Turner

Comment: Richmond; C, 2018-05-06, Richmond; C, 2018-05-06, Naked Creek @ Derby Rd. (SR 1003)
Photo 16 by: John Petranka

Comment: Jones, 2018-04-20, Along Great Lake Road patrolling tributary to Hunters Creek, Croatan National Forest. - Males.
Photo 17 by: Mark Shields and Hunter Phillips

Comment: Hoke, 2018-04-05, Wagram Boating Access Area, Lumber River
Photo 18 by: Mark Shields and Hunter Phillips

Comment: Scotland, 2018-04-05, Lumber River State Park (LURI) Chalk Banks
Photo 19 by: Mark Shields

Comment: Sampson, 2017-03-25, South River
Photo 20 by: Mark Shields

Comment: Bladen, 2017-03-25, South River
Photo 21 by: John Petranka

Comment: Pender, 2017-03-21, Shaw Highway at the Ashes Creek bridge, 0.4 miles south of Old Maple Hill Road. - Males. Patrolling near the bridge.
Photo 22 by: John Petranka

Comment: Rockingham, 2016-04-13, Mayo River State Park, Fall Creek Trail downstream from Deshazo Road. Male. Photo.
Photo 23 by: Conrad Wernett, Alyssa Wernett, Matt Anderson

Comment: Richmond; C, 2015-05-03, - Drainage from Lake McKinney
Photo 24 by: Conrad Wernett

Comment: Scotland, 2014-04-26, - Drainage from Lake McKinney
Photo 25 by: Conrad Wernett

Comment: Wake, 2014-04-12, - Several specimens found on small creek.
Photo 26 by: Beth Brinson

Comment: Surry, 2012-03-29, Pilot Mountain State Park - Yadkin River Section
Photo 27 by: Ali Iyoob, Matt Daw, Dan Irizarry

Comment: Richmond; C, 2011-05-05, McKinney Lake Fish Hatchery
Photo 28 by: Dorothy E. Pugh

Comment: Durham, 2011-04-04. Penny's Bend Nature Preserve