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 = 13
Added in 2024-00-00 from a previous year = 1

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e.g., flight data, high counts, and earliest/latest dates can be seen.
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Calico Pennant (Celithemis elisa) by Mark Shields
Compare with: Ornate Pennant   Amanda's Pennant  
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 Calico Pennant
Flight Charts
Distribution Statewide, undoubtedly occurring in all counties, but definitely scarce toward the coast (with still no record yet from fairly well-worked Dare County).
Abundance Fairly common to occasionally common, and widespread, essentially throughout, but less numerous in the middle and higher elevations in the mountains, and in the far eastern counties.
Flight Most of the flight season for dragonflies (except for early spring); downstate, generally from mid-April to early October, sparingly into early November. The flight in the mountains begins in early May and extends to late September.
Habitat As with other Celithemis, it breeds at ponds and smaller lakes, typically with much vegetation along the shoreline. It occasionally breeds at slow creeks and rivers.

See also Habitat Account for General Pond Shorelines
Behavior Adults fly at ponds and perch on twigs and vegetation around pond margins. They also forage well away from water, preferring open habitats such as fields (rather than open woods and wooded margins). They are unwary when perching, as are most other pennants.
Comments This is one of the more colorful of the dragonflies, and adult males are quite stunning with their red and black abdomens and numerous burgundy/blood-red wing patches. Females and immatures, though highly patterned, could be confused with Halloween Pennants. Thankfully, because it occurs statewide and in open habitats, and it flies for many months of the year, it is one of the dragonflies that beginners should be able to observe and learn.
State Rank S5
State Status
Global Rank G5
Federal Status
Other Name
Species account update: LeGrand on 2023-01-16 14:08:51

Photo Gallery for Calico Pennant   44 photos are available.
Only the most recent 30 are shown.
Other NC Galleries:    Jeff Pippen    Will Cook    Ted Wilcox
Photo 1 by: Carol Clemens

Comment: Dare; Mainland, 2024-05-10, - Roanoke Marshes Conservancy in Manteo
Photo 2 by: Owen McConnell

Comment: Orange, 2023-07-04, On cattails at edge of upper pond in Occoneechee Mt. State N.A. - Mating pair
Photo 3 by: John Petranka

Comment: Orange, 2022-06-04, NHCBS, Hollow Rock Nature Park, West of Pickett Road, Meadow
Photo 4 by: Harry LeGrand

Comment: Sampson, 2021-07-22, Pondberry Bay Preserve; photo by Scott Pohlman
Photo 5 by: Nora Murdock, Keith Langdon, Robert Emmott

Comment: Swain, 2021-07-06,
Photo 6 by: Harry LeGrand, Lori Arent

Comment: Johnston; C, 2021-06-17, Howell Woods Preserve
Photo 7 by: Bill Dunson

Comment: Watauga, 2021-05-28, Bass Lake - Nice red male; new photo record
Photo 8 by: John Petranka, Jim Petranka, Becky Elkin

Comment: Yancey, 2021-05-24, Along Cane River south of Burnsville. - 2 males, 1 female. 2 were tenerals. At pond near the river.
Photo 9 by: Doug Allen

Comment: Polk; P, 2020-06-14, Caroland Farms; private ~10 acre pond and small pond - stayed near water
Photo 10 by: Pete Dixon

Comment: Madison, 2019-05-13, River Road, Murray Branch Meadows
Photo 11 by: Chuck Smith

Comment: Davidson, 2018-07-02, Lexington. Pond at Finch Park.
Photo 12 by: Mark Shields

Comment: Jackson, 2018-06-25, Lake Glenville at Powerhouse Access Area - First record for county.
Photo 13 by: Mike Turner

Comment: Alleghany, 2018-06-17, Little Glade Mill Pond at mile marker 230 on the Blue Ridge Parkway - adult males
Photo 14 by: Mark Shields

Comment: Currituck, 2018-06-09, pond at Currituck Community Park near Maple
Photo 15 by: Mark Shields

Comment: New Hanover, 2018-06-01, Carolina Beach State Park (CABE), limesink ponds
Photo 16 by: Owen McConnell

Comment: Orange Co., 2017-06-06 - male
Photo 17 by: Conrad Wernett

Comment: Wayne, 2017-05-29, - Cliffs of the Neuse State Park, along dike of swimming lake
Photo 18 by: Mark Shields, Hunter Phillips

Comment: Scotland, 2017-05-15, 17 Frog Pond, Sandhills Game Land
Photo 19 by: Mark Shields

Comment: Pender, 2015-10-15, Holly Shelter Game Land
Photo 20 by: Mark Shields

Comment: Carteret, 2015-09-15, ponds along Patsy Pond Nature Trail, Croatan National Forest
Photo 21 by: Mark Shields and Zoology lab class

Comment: Onslow, 2015-07-27, Coastal Carolina Community College, Jacksonville - at retention pond
Photo 22 by: Alicia Jackson

Comment: Hoke, 2015-05-27, along existing gas line west of NC Hwy 211, N of Ashemont Rd. - probably more; many in field adjacent to pond
Photo 23 by: Owen McConnell

Comment: Orange, 2015-05-06, Occoneechee Mountain
Photo 24 by: Jeff Beane

Comment: Watauga, 2014-06-07, ca. 3.6 airmi. WNW Todd (Long Hope Valley, in a cranberry bog)
Photo 25 by: George Andrews

Comment: Mecklenburg, 2013-07-20, Beatty Park fields - 50/50 sun/shade - 90 degrees - light wind
Photo 26 by: Doug Johnston, Vin Stanton

Comment: Graham, 2013-07-16, Lake Santeetlah north of Robbinsville - Male
Photo 27 by: George Andrews

Comment: Mecklenburg, 2013-05-15, Colonel Beatty Park - temp near 90° F, clear, gusty wind - Lifer
Photo 28 by: Doug Johnston

Comment: Brunswick, 2013-04-26, Green Swamp
Photo 29 by: Owen McConnell

Comment: Durham, 2012-06-18, Quail Roost - female
Photo 30 by: Mark Shields

Comment: Onslow, 2011-09-13, Coastal Carolina Community College