Wisconsin Odonata Survey


Epitheca princeps  Hagen, 1861
Prince 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. In the latter case, the prince baskettail would be placed in the genus Epicordulia.


Global: G5     Wisconsin: S5    

Distinguishing Characteristics:

This large brownish dragonfly has distinctive markings on the wings. It is the largest emerald, the body length varying from 2.3 to 3.1 inches. Due to its markings on the wings, it may be confused with the twelve-spotted skimmer, except it has no white on its wings. Their mating and egg-laying habits are like other Epitheca species.

Description of Habitat/Range:

Common throughout eastern United States and southeastern Canada, this species is found at permanent ponds, lakes, slow streams, and rivers. It is commonly found throughout Wisconsin.

Flight Season:

Early June to mid-September 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

(Click on photos to enlarge)
Photo of Male prince baskettail
Male prince baskettail. © Dan Jackson

Male prince baskettail
Photo of Immature male prince baskettail
Immature male prince baskettail. © Ryan Brady

Immature male prince baskettail
Photo of Female prince baskettail
Female prince baskettail. © Dan Jackson

Female prince baskettail
Photo of Female prince baskettail with egg cluster
Female prince baskettail with egg cluster. © Dan Jackson

Female prince baskettail with egg cluster

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