Wisconsin Odonata Survey


Tramea carolina  (Linnaeus, 1763)
Carolina Saddlebags

Libellulidae, Skimmer Family
"Most Wanted" Species


Global: G5     Wisconsin: SU    

Distinguishing Characteristics:

Easily identified by its wing patterns, the Carolina saddlebags varies from 1.9 to 2.1 inches in body length. On the hindwings, near the body, 1/4 of the wings are reddish or dark brown. The thorax is brown. The end of abdomen has black dorsal spots. Females and juvenile males have red-brownish abdomens and faces. In mature males, the abdomen may become bright red. The face may also become red. The forehead, in males, is metallic violet. The forehead is half metallic violet in females. The red saddlebags differs from the Carolina saddlebags in having no violet colors on foreheads, male's abdomen pale red, end of abdomen pale, clear "windows" in wing spots, near the body, and smaller hindwing bands.

Description of Habitat/Range:

Found in eastern United States and southeast Canada, this species is more common in the south and possibly migratory toward to the north. It prefers ponds, lakes, swamps, and slow streams, including temporary ponds and avoids muddy water. In Wisconsin, it is known from just a few widely scattered sites.

Flight Season:

The few adults in Wisconsin were seen from late May to mid-September. In the northern part of its range, the flight season is from mid-May to late August.

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 Carolina saddlebags
Male Carolina saddlebags. © Dennis Paulson

Photo of Male Carolina saddlebags
Male Carolina saddlebags. © Vic Berardi

Photo of Male Carolina saddlebags
Male Carolina saddlebags. © Vic Berardi

Photo of Male Carolina saddlebags
Male Carolina saddlebags. © Vic Berardi

Photo of Female Carolina saddlebags
Female Carolina saddlebags. © Dennis Paulson

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