Wisconsin Odonata Survey


Tramea lacerata  Hagen, 1861
Black Saddlebags

Libellulidae, Skimmer Family


Global: G5     Wisconsin: S5    

Distinguishing Characteristics:

The black saddlebags is easily identified by its mostly black coloration with some white dorsal abdominal spots and black wing patterns. The length of the body varies from 2.0 to 2.2 inches. The hindwings are 1/4 covered with a black band, near the body. Females and juvenile males have yellow-brown faces and large white dorsal spots on most of the abdomen. The face becomes black and the abdominal spots darken in males. One of the abdominal spots persists the longest near the middle of the abdomen. Some people have commented that the hindwing bands resemble theater comedy masks facing each other across the abdomen.

Description of Habitat/Range:

Found throughout United States and southernmost Canada, the black saddlebags prefers ponds, lakes, and ditches without fish, including temporary ponds. It occurs fairly commonly throughout the southern two-thirds of Wisconsin.

Flight Season:

In Wisconsin, the flight season extends from late-May to mid-October with northbound migrants arriving in late spring and early summer and their offspring emerging and flying south starting in August.

Shading illustrates monthly percentages of the total flight season records for the species. Each flight season record is a unique date/location/observer combination where one or more adult or an exuvia was recorded (excludes nymphs). The actual number of flight season records for each month is shown in parentheses.

Flight seasons begin earlier in the southern part of the state, often by a week or more. Also, flight charts may not be accurate for rare species because of few data available.
View user-submitted photos

(Click on photos to enlarge)
Photo of Male black saddlebags
Male black saddlebags. © Dan Jackson

Male black saddlebags
Photo of Immature male black saddlebags
Immature male black saddlebags. © Dan Jackson

Immature male black saddlebags
Photo of Female black saddlebags
Female black saddlebags. © Dan Jackson

Female black saddlebags
Photo of Female black saddlebags
Female black saddlebags. © Dan Jackson

Female black saddlebags
Photo of Black saddlebags in tandem
Black saddlebags in tandem. © Dan Jackson

Black saddlebags in tandem

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