Wisconsin Odonata Survey


Libellula vibrans  Fabricius, 1793
Great Blue 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: SU    

Distinguishing Characteristics:

The juvenile has a white face, red-brown eyes, brown shoulders, a grayish thorax, and a yellow abdomen with a black dorsal stripe. Each wing is marked with black: a streak at base, a small spot in middle, a black stigma (near the tip), and a black tip. In the females, the black tips extend to the stigmas. The eyes are blue at maturity. The abdomen is brown in mature females. The front of the thorax becomes blue and then the abdomen for the males at maturity. The body length varies from 2.2 to 2.5 inches. The juveniles and females are similar to those of the slaty skimmer.

Description of Habitat/Range:

Ranging throughout eastern United States, this species prefers swamp pools or ponds and slow forest streams. It has been documented in the Milwaukee River watershed and may occur elsewhere in southeastern counties.

Flight Season:

Throughout northern part of its range, the flight season 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.
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Photo of Male great blue skimmer
Male great blue skimmer. © Dennis Paulson

Photo of Female great blue skimmer
Female great blue skimmer. © Dennis Paulson

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