Wisconsin Odonata Survey


Libellula semifasciata  Burmeister, 1839
Painted Skimmer

Libellulidae, Skimmer Family
"Most Wanted" Species

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: S1S2    

Distinguishing Characteristics:

The painted skimmer is easily identifiable by its wing patterns. Amber-tinted at bases and tips, the wings also have 1 or 2 brown streaks at base. There is a brown spot in middle, near the front edge of the wing and brown bands near the tip. The length of the body varies from 1.8 to 1.9 inches. The thorax has two lateral stripes; a white one in front and yellow one in back. The orange abdomen has a black dorsal stripe on the bottom half. The gray face becomes orange at maturity. The wing veins of a male turn orange at maturity. The female has a small flange near the end of the abdomen.

Description of Habitat/Range:

Found in eastern United States, this species likes marshy forest ponds and occasionally bogs or slow streams. The most common habitat preference is coastal plains. They are believed to be migratory in the northern part of their range which may explain how rarely they are seen in Wisconsin. They have been found in Wisconsin in counties along Lake Michigan as far north as Door County.

Flight Season:

The flight season, in the northern part of its range, is from late May to mid-July.

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 painted skimmer
Male painted skimmer. © Dennis Paulson

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

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