Wisconsin Odonata Survey


Libellula incesta  Hagen, 1861
Slaty Skimmer

Libellulidae, Skimmer Family

Species of the genus Libellula (king skimmers) often perch on shoreline vegetation, are stout bodied, and usually have distinctive body and wing patterns.


Global: G5     Wisconsin: S2S3    

Distinguishing Characteristics:

The juvenile has a brown face, brown shoulders, red-brown eyes, yellow dorsal stripe on thorax, and a yellow abdomen with a wide black dorsal stripe. As the male gets older, he develops a black face and a black body, with the side of thorax being last. The eyes also turn dark brown. The female is similar to the juvenile stage. As the female gets older, the body becomes brown or brown-gray. The wings have black stigmas (near the tips of wings) and tips edged with black. The average length of the body is 2.0 inches. The juveniles are similar to the great blue skimmer juveniles.

Description of Habitat/Range:

Found throughout eastern United States and southeast Canada, this species prefers quiet waters with a muck bottom, usually in or near forest, and sometimes including rivers. In the north, habitat preferences may include bog lakes. In Wisconsin, we are at northwestern limit of its range, and it is only known from a few eastern counties.

Flight Season:

In Wisconsin, a few adults have been recorded in July. The flight season in the northern part of its range, is from early June to early September.

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 slaty skimmer
Male slaty skimmer. © Dan Jackson

Photo of Male slaty skimmer
Male slaty skimmer. © Dan Jackson

Photo of Female slaty skimmer
Female slaty skimmer. © Dennis Paulson

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