Wisconsin Odonata Survey


Nannothemis bella  (Uhler, 1857)
Elfin Skimmer

Libellulidae, Skimmer Family


Global: G4     Wisconsin: S3    

Distinguishing Characteristics:

This is the smallest dragonfly in United States, from 0.7 to 0.8 inches. Juvenile males have a black thorax and abdomen, becoming powdery blue in 5-10 days. The male's abdomen widens into a flat club at end. The female differs from the mature male by its wasp-like appearance. The thorax is black, mottled with yellow. The abdomen is black with yellow basal spots and yellow tip. The female's wings may be tinted with orange near the base. The face is black except for white on the top and sides. The eyes are silver, striped vertically with red-brown.

Description of Habitat/Range:

Found throughout eastern United States, with some exceptions, the elfin skimmer prefers bogs, and sometimes calcium-deposited fens in sedge meadows. Populations are infrequently found in Wisconsin in appropriate habitats, mostly in the northern half of the state.

Flight Season:

Late May to early August 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 elfin skimmer
Male elfin skimmer. © Dan Jackson

Photo of Intermediate male elfin skimmer
Intermediate male elfin skimmer. © Dan Jackson

Photo of Teneral male elfin skimmer
Teneral male elfin skimmer. © Mike Reese

Photo of Female elfin skimmer
Female elfin skimmer. © Dan Jackson

Photo of Female elfin skimmer
Female elfin skimmer. © Dan Jackson

Photo of Elfin skimmer pair in wheel
Elfin skimmer pair in wheel. © Dan Jackson

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