Wisconsin Odonata Survey


Epitheca cynosura  (Say, 1839)
Common Baskettail

Corduliidae, Emerald Family

The baskettail species that occur in Wisconsin are very similar to each other, requiring in-hand examination to be sure about species identification. They differ primarily in the shape of the terminal appendages and presence or absence of dark markings on the wings. They are medium-sized dragonflies with dark brown bodies and small yellow markings on the sides of the abdomen. There is some disagreement among odonatists as to whether they should be placed in the genus Epitheca or the genus Tetragoneuria.


Global: G5     Wisconsin: S5    

Distinguishing Characteristics:

The black abdomen is constricted just below the base especially in males. This dragonfly varies from 1.5 to 1.7 inches in body length. There are spots on base of hind wings, which vary in the size. After the mating, the females carry eggs at the end of the abdomen in what looks like a "basket". The females carry to the water where they just put "the basket" into algae or other floating vegetation. The eggs become rope-like in the water.

Description of Habitat/Range:

Common throughout eastern United States, it is found at ponds, lakes, marshes, slow streams, and rivers. This species is common throughout Wisconsin.

Flight Season:

Late May to mid-August in Wisconsin.

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

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Photo of Male common baskettail
Male common baskettail. © Dan Jackson

Male common baskettail
Photo of Male common baskettail
Male common baskettail. © Dan Jackson

Male common baskettail
Photo of Male common baskettail
Male common baskettail. © Jim Lind

Male common baskettail
Photo of Female common baskettail
Female common baskettail. © Dan Jackson

Female common baskettail
Photo of Immature female common baskettail
Immature female common baskettail. © Dan Jackson

Immature female common baskettail

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