Wisconsin Odonata Survey title graphic Wisconsin Odonata Survey graphic Wisconsin Odonata Survey graphic Wisconsin Odonata Survey graphic Wisconsin Odonata Survey graphic

Tramea onusta
Red Saddlebags

Hagen, 1861
Libellulidae, Skimmer Family
photo of Male red saddlebags
Male red saddlebags — Dan Jackson
Status-Global/State:
Global: G5 Wisconsin: S3
Distinguishing Characteristics:
The red saddlebags is easily identified by its wing patterns, varying from 1.6 to 1.9 inches in the body length. On the hindwings, the basal 1/5 of the wings are reddish to dark brown, with the patches being smaller than those of the Carolina saddlebags. There are clear "windows" in the hindwing bands. The thorax is brown. The end of abdomen has small black dorsal spots with pale sides. Juvenile males and the females have red-brownish abdomens and faces. The abdomen becomes pale red in mature males, differing from the Carolina saddlebags males' bright red abdomen. The face also becomes red.
Description of Habitat/Range:
Found through much of the United States, this species is more common in southwest and possibly migratory toward to the east. Like the Carolina saddlebags, the red saddlebags prefers ponds, lakes, swamps, and slow streams, including temporary ponds, and also avoids muddy water. It is occasionally seen throughout Wisconsin, but more commonly in the southern half of the state.
Flight Season:
The flight season extends from as early as late May to as late as early October in Wisconsin. Northbound migrants arrive in late spring and early summer and their offspring emerge and head south starting in mid-August.
(Click on photos to enlarge)
photo of Male red saddlebags
Male red saddlebags — Dan Jackson
photo of Male red saddlebags
Male red saddlebags — Dan Jackson
photo of Immature male red saddlebags
Immature male red saddlebags — Dan Jackson
photo of Female red saddlebags
Female red saddlebags — Dan Jackson
photo of Female red saddlebags
Female red saddlebags — Dan Jackson
photo of Male and female red saddlebags
Male and female red saddlebags — Dan Jackson
This site is produced in conjunction with the Wisconsin Aquatic and Terrestrial Resources Inventory and sponsored by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. The information presented on this site is subject to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources' Legal Notices, Disclaimers, and Terms of Use.