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Epitheca cynosura
Common Baskettail

(Say, 1839)
Corduliidae, Emerald Family
photo of Male common baskettail
Male common baskettail — Dan Jackson
The baskettail species that occur in Wisconsin are very similar to each other, requiring in-hand examination to be sure about species identification. They differ primarily in the shape of the terminal appendages and presence or absence of dark markings on the wings. They are medium-sized dragonflies with dark brown bodies and small yellow markings on the sides of the abdomen. There is some disagreement among odonatists as to whether they should be placed in the genus Epitheca or the genus Tetragoneuria.
Status-Global/State:
Global: G5 Wisconsin: S5
Distinguishing Characteristics:
The black abdomen is constricted just below the base especially in males. This dragonfly varies from 1.5 to 1.7 inches in body length. There are spots on base of hind wings, which vary in the size. After the mating, the females carry eggs at the end of the abdomen in what looks like a "basket". The females carry to the water where they just put "the basket" into algae or other floating vegetation. The eggs become rope-like in the water.
Description of Habitat/Range:
Common throughout eastern United States, it is found at ponds, lakes, marshes, slow streams, and rivers. This species is common throughout Wisconsin.
Flight Season:
Late May to mid-August in Wisconsin.
(Click on photos to enlarge)
photo of Male common baskettail
Male common baskettail — Dan Jackson
photo of Intermediate male common baskettail
Intermediate male common baskettail — Dan Jackson
photo of Immature male common baskettail
Immature male common baskettail — Dan Jackson
photo of Side (top image) and top view of cercus for male common baskettail
Side (top image) and top view of cercus for male common baskettail — Dan Jackson
photo of Female common baskettail
Female common baskettail — Dan Jackson
photo of Immature female common baskettail
Immature female common baskettail — Dan Jackson
photo of Top and bottom view of female common baskettail abdomen tip
Top and bottom view of female common baskettail abdomen tip — Dan Jackson
photo of Common baskettail pair in wheel
Common baskettail pair in wheel — Dan Jackson
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