Wisconsin Odonata Survey


Epitheca costalis  (Selys, 1871)
Slender Baskettail

Corduliidae, Emerald Family
Possible Species

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: G4     Wisconsin: SQ    

Distinguishing Characteristics:

The female has two forms. The stripe-winged form female has a brown stripe along the front edges of the wings. This form is mainly restricted to the southeast. The clear-winged form female can be identified with care by the terminal appendages. The male has a slender abdomen. In most of the range, the males have two small basal spots on the hindwings. The slender baskettail is more slender than the common baskettail.

Description of Habitat/Range:

This species ranges throughout eastern and southern United States, but may not extend as far north as Wisconsin. Generally, it can be found at sand-bottomed lakes with moderate-rooted vegetation,. But they can also be found at ponds and lakes and pools in clean streams and rivers. The habitats generally have sparser vegetation than the habitats of the common baskettail. Narrow-waisted baskettails in southern Wisconsin could be this species.

Flight Season:

Throughout its range, the flight season is from mid-January to mid-July. It is possible that the flight season in Wisconsin, being at the northern limit of its range, would likely be from mid-May to late June.

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.
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