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 = 1
Added in 2024 from a previous years = 2

PDF has more details,
e.g., flight data, high counts, and earliest/latest dates can be seen.
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Swift Setwing (Dythemis velox) by John Petranka
Compare with: Blue Dasher  
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 Swift Setwing
Flight Charts
Distribution Primarily the Piedmont, but also widely scattered in the mountains (mostly at low elevations) and in the western Coastal Plain; quite disjunct records for Jones and Onslow counties in the lower Coastal Plain. Present in the western portion of the Sandhills region.
Abundance Fairly common (and apparently increasing) in the Piedmont, except scarce to locally absent in parts of the northwestern portion of the province. Very rare in the central and southern (low) mountains and Coastal Plain portion of the range. The species has slowly been expanding its range northeastward in recent decades.
Flight Much of the warmer months, from early May to early October; however, most records fall between mid-June and mid-September. There are not enough data to define the flight periods in the mountains or Coastal Plain, as the above refers to the Piedmont province flight data.
Habitat Ponds and small lakes, but might breed also at slow rivers or wide creeks. These waters are typically in open or partly open situations.

See also Habitat Account for General Pond Shorelines
Behavior Males are almost always seen close to the margin of a pond or lake, perching usually several to many feet above water on twigs of small trees along the margin. Females may forage farther from water but are much less often seen.
Comments This is our only Dythemis (setwing), and thus it looks and acts like no other dragonfly in NC. The narrow black abdomen has a conspicuous white dorsal spot on segment 7. Most notable is that adults typically perch in a "sprinter's stance", with abdomen raised, seemingly ready to bolt at any moment. Sometimes they perch with wings drooped and held forward, as do Blue Dashers, but they can just as often perch with wings held above horizontal, angled over their thorax. They are somewhat wary and people typically need binoculars (or a net) to see them well. A recent (2017) photographic record for Onslow County may suggest that the species is expanding its range into the eastern Coastal Plain.
State Rank S4S5
State Status
Global Rank G5
Federal Status
Other Name
Species account update: LeGrand on 2023-01-16 14:25:41

Photo Gallery for Swift Setwing   29 photos are shown. Other NC Galleries:    Jeff Pippen    Will Cook    Ted Wilcox
Photo 1 by: Mike Turner

Comment: Cumberland, 2023-07-29, Cape Fear Botanical Garden
Photo 2 by: L. Arent

Comment: Yadkin, 2022-08-01, Yadkin County Park
Photo 3 by: Ken Kneidel

Comment: Mecklenburg, 2022-07-21,
Photo 4 by: Harry LeGrand. Lori Arent

Comment: Durham, 2022-07-11, Flat River impoundments; photo by Lori Arent
Photo 5 by: Bob Oberfelder

Comment: Wake, 2021-08-06, - Seen at the second bridge at Yates Mill Park
Photo 6 by: Matt Spangler

Comment: Chatham, 2021-08-01, Haw River--Bynum Dam
Photo 7 by: Max Ramey

Comment: Watauga, 2020-07-28, Lake Dexter (Valle Cay) - First county record.
Photo 8 by: R. Emmitt

Comment: Durham, 2019-06-13, Eno River State Park downstream of Cole Mill Rd - perched at the edge of the Eno River.
Photo 9 by: Owen McConneli and Simpson Eason

Comment: Graham, 2018-08-03, First county record, 4:52 PM at Cheoah Pt. swimming area
Photo 10 by: Mike Turner

Comment: Forsyth, 2018-07-08, Winston Lake
Photo 11 by: Mike Turner

Comment: Guilford, 2018-06-30, Lake Higgins
Photo 12 by: Owen McConnell

Comment: Granville, 2017-07-17, Holt Lake near boat launch ramp - female
Photo 13 by: John Petranka

Comment: Onslow, 2017-07-09, Cow Horn Creek at Cow Horn Road east of Richlands. Access point for New River Paddle Trail. - Male. First record for Onslow County, and an unusual occurrence for the lower Coastal Plain.
Photo 14 by: Jim Petranka

Comment: Madison, 2016-07-22, On the bank of the Ivy River along the Forks-of-Ivy Road.
Photo 15 by: John Petranka

Comment: Orange, 2015-06-22, Along New Hope Creek in Falls of New Hope neighborhood park. - Female.
Photo 16 by: Carl Ganser

Comment: Mecklenburg, 2014-06-28, Reedy Creek Nature Preserve, beside dragonfly pond
Photo 17 by: John Petranka

Comment: Orange, 2013-08-18, Eno River State Park (ENRI). Pleasant Green Access. - Male.
Photo 18 by: Nancy Cowal

Comment: McDowell; M, 2012-08-31, Old Fort / submitted by Vin Stanton
Photo 19 by: Vin Stanton, Doug Johnston, Simon Thompson

Comment: Polk; P, 2012-08-04, Foothills Equestrian Nature Center (FENCE) - Male
Photo 20 by: Conrad Wernett, Ali Iyoob

Comment: Wake, 2012-07-29, - Perched in vegetation along the Neuse River
Photo 21 by: Mike Turner

Comment: Wake, 2012-07-15, Tailrace below the Falls Lake dam
Photo 22 by: Mike Turner

Comment: Wake, 2012-07-15, Tailrace below the Falls Lake dam
Photo 23 by: Steve Hall and Harry LeGrand

Comment: Northampton, 2012-07-13, North shore of the Roanoke River at the US 258 bridge crossing - perched next to a pond
Photo 24 by: Doug Johnston

Comment: Buncombe, 2012-06-05, Azalea Park, Asheville
Photo 25 by: Steve Hall

Comment: Montgomery, 2010-08-30, Dutchmans Creek
Photo 26 by: Bob Oberfelder

Comment: Wake, 2010-07-24, Observed in Cary at Lochmere Golf Course, male
Photo 27 by: Doug Johnston

Comment: Alamance, 2009-07-23, I-40 rest area -
Photo 28 by: Jeff Pippen

Comment: Orange, 2004-08-21
Photo 29 by: R. Emmitt

Comment: Orange, 2004-07-17. male, Cole Mill Access to Eno River State Park