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 2023 = 0
Added in 2023 from a previous years = 6

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e.g., flight data, high counts, and earliest/latest dates can be seen.
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Four-spotted Pennant (Brachymesia gravida) 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.

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Click on county for list of all its records for Four-spotted Pennant
Flight Charts
Distribution Mainly the lower half of the Coastal Plain, inland (as a probable breeder) to Hertford, Edgecombe, Cumberland, and Columbus counties. A presumed storm-based stray to the central Piedmont (Mecklenburg County), where several were seen and documented with photos on multiple dates in 2018. Another photographed in Chatham County in July 2021 (and another or the same individual there in September) also came immediately after passage of a tropical storm. This is one of just roughly five "primarily coastal" dragonflies in NC (along with Seaside Dragonlet, Needham's Skimmer, Roseate Skimmer, and Marl Pennant). A photograph of one (and with five seen) in Cumberland County in 2013 extended the range inward by 15-20 miles in the southern part of the Coastal Plain. New middle Coastal Plain records were made in 2022 in Duplin and Robeson counties, filling in small gaps near the inner part of the range.
Abundance Common close to tidal/brackish waters; much less common -- rare to uncommon -- in areas well away (several dozen miles) from tidal waters. Accidental or casual stray into the southern and eastern Piedmont, after tropical storms.
Flight A wide flight period during the warmer months, ranging from mid-May to mid-October.
Habitat This is one of the few dragonflies in the East that favors brackish water for breeding; habitats include brackish lakes, ponds, and ditches, but also still fresh water habitats also. The handful of 2018 records from Mecklenburg County are from small ponds.

See also Habitat Account for Coastal Freshwater and Low-Salinity Marshes
Behavior Adults are often seen in some numbers flying along ponds and ditches, frequently perching on twigs and vegetation in easy view of the observer.
Comments The white stigmas are very conspicuous and identify these dragonflies, even if the single large dark patch near the node on each wing isn't seen at first glance. Adults often obelisk. Thus, its behavior, unique markings, and occurrence in open habitats render it easy to identify and one of the favorites among odonate watchers. The photo record from Mecklenburg County in early June 2018 is likely attributable to the passage of Tropical Storm Alberto a few days earlier. To follow up on that record, other biologists there recorded the species on three later dates, including an excellent four seen on July 8 and another five on August 4; surprisingly these records came from several locations in the county! As of now, these Mecklenburg records likely do not represent a range extension, especially as none have been reported from the county since 2018. The two records for Chatham County in 2021 also should not be assumed to represent a range extension either.
State Rank S5
State Status
Global Rank G5
Federal Status
Other Name
Species account update: LeGrand on 2023-01-24 15:11:50

Photo Gallery for Four-spotted Pennant   30 photos are shown. Other NC Galleries:    Jeff Pippen    Will Cook    Ted Wilcox
Photo 1 by: Matt Spangler

Comment: Chatham, 2021-09-09, Jordan Lake--New Hope Creek (Chatham)
Photo 2 by: Matt Spangler, Mark Kosiewski

Comment: Chatham, 2021-07-10, Jordan Lake--New Hope Creek - momentarily perched on a snag at the end of the railroad spur; Chatham Co. record, probably blown in by recent tropical storm
Photo 3 by: Scott Pohlman

Comment: Tyrrell, 2019-07-10, Alligator River
Photo 4 by: Mark Shields

Comment: Camden, 2019-06-24, Indiantown Creek, from S. Indiantown Rd. bridge to confluence with North River and back, by kayak.
Photo 5 by: Mark Shields

Comment: Currituck, 2018-09-08, Historic Corolla Park, Corolla
Photo 6 by: Robert Gilson and Chris Talkington

Comment: Mecklenburg, 2018-08-04, Cowan's Ford Wildlife Refuge
Photo 7 by: Chris Talkington

Comment: Mecklenburg, 2018-07-08, Rivergate Shopping Center retention ponds. Charlotte NC
Photo 8 by: Mark Shields, Hunter Phillips

Comment: Dare; OBM, 2018-06-29, North Pond, Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge
Photo 9 by: Mark Shields

Comment: Beaufort, 2018-06-22, South Creek at Aurora Boating Access Area
Photo 10 by: Mark Shields

Comment: Chowan, 2018-06-09, Edenton National Fish Hatchery
Photo 11 by: Rob Van Epps

Comment: Mecklenburg, 2018-06-06, Lake Davidson off Jetton Street. Rare to find this species inland. First county record according to this website.
Photo 12 by: Rob Van Epps

Comment: Mecklenburg, 2018-06-06, Lake Davidson off Jetton Street
Photo 13 by: Mike Turner

Comment: Edgecombe, 2017-08-04, Tarboro; Etheridge Pond; 35.8699, -77.5279 - adult males
Photo 14 by: Mark Shields

Comment: Lenoir, 2017-08-01, Neuseway Nature Park, Kinston
Photo 15 by: Mark Shields

Comment: Columbus, 2016-07-22, Lake Waccamaw, southern end between dam and pier
Photo 16 by: Mike Turner

Comment: Dare, 2015-09-10, Cape Point, Buxton; freshwater pond at 35.235931, -75.529496 - adult males
Photo 17 by: Mark Shields

Comment: Pamlico, 2015-09-04, Upper Broad Creek at Lee
Photo 18 by: Mark Shields

Comment: Hyde, 2015-07-08, Mattamuskeet NWR
Photo 19 by: Mark Shields

Comment: Pender, 2015-06-22, salt marsh at Soundside Park, Surf City
Photo 20 by: Kristy Baker

Comment: Dare; Mainland, 2015-06-12, Roanoke Island Marsh Game Land - Several seen but not counted.
Photo 21 by: Curtis Smalling

Comment: Dare; Mainland, 2014-07-17, Point Peter Road, Alligator River NWR - males in roadside ditch
Photo 22 by: Conrad Wernett

Comment: Onslow, 2014-06-29, - Several individuals at retention pond
Photo 23 by: Conrad Wernett

Comment: Jones, 2014-06-22, - Two males spotted at Brocks Mill
Photo 24 by: Conrad Wernett

Comment: New Hanover, 2014-05-24, - Absolute swarms around Sutton Lake
Photo 25 by: Mike Turner

Comment: Cumberland, 2013-09-05, Rhodes Pond - female
Photo 26 by: Mark Shields

Comment: Onslow, 2013-07-03, Retention pond at Coastal Carolina Community College, Jacksonville
Photo 27 by: Doug Johnston

Comment: Onslow, 2010-07-29, North Topsail Island
Photo 28 by: Doug Johnston

Comment: Onslow, 2010-07-26, North Topsail Island
Photo 29 by: Salman Abdulali

Comment: Pitt, 2006-08-05, River Park North
Photo 30 by: R. Emmitt

Comment: Brunswick, 2003-06-22, female