Minnesota Dragonfly

Beaverpond Baskettail

Epitheca canis

The Beaverpond Baskettail is a drab looking Emerald that is mostly dark with red and grey eyes that turn green or blue with maturity and yellow spots running down the abdomen. It is difficult to distinguish between most species of Baskettails unless you have the specimen in hand

Identification

Field Marks
  • Average adult size is approximately from 1.7 to 1.9 inches
  • Face yellow to tan with a black triangle on the top of the frons
  • Eyes are red on top and grey on the bottom turning green with maturity
  • Thorax is brown and black with a couple of small yellow spots located on each side
  • Black abdomen with a pale line separating the segments and a thicker yellowish line on both sides of the top of segments 3 to 8
  • Minimal to no dark patches on the base of the hindwing
  • Dark terminal appendages. Cerci have a bump on the bottom, a spike on the top and angle downward at the end, shaped kind of like an antler

Click on photos above for a close-up view.

Field Marks
  • Female is colored similarly to the male
  • Medium sized terminal appendages which are about equal in length to segment 9
  • Subgenital plates are very straight, 'V' shaped and slightly smaller than segment 9
  • Wing of mature females often have brown veining

Click on photos above for a close-up view.

Similar Species

Common Baskettail: The Beaverpond Baskettail and Common Baskettail look similar, however male Beaverpond Baskettails have limited black at the base of the hind wing and mature females often have brown veining on all 4 the wings. In comparison both male and female Common Baskettails typically have a prominent wing patch at the base of the hind wing. Beaverpond Baskettails also have a triangle on the top of their frons Where Common Baskettails have a 'T' spot on the top of their frons

Click on the photo to see side by side comparisons of the two species.

Spiny Baskettail: The Beaverpond Baskettail and the Spiny Baskettail are similarly looking dark Emeralds that are roughly the same size. Distinguishing between the males of these species requires a close look at the claspers and the top of the frons. Females can be easier to identify as Beaverpond Baskettail females typically get brown veining throughout the wings at maturity where Spiny Baskettails have mostly clear wings

Click on the photo to see side by side comparisons of the two species.

Natural History

Behavior

Males are very territorial and patrol a variable sized territory, alternating between hovering and flight. Beaverpond Baskettails often join large feeding swarms, mixing primarily with Spiny Baskettails

Habitat

Acidic lakes, ponds and slow moving streams.

Reproduction

Females produce eggs which accumulate on the end of their abdomen, like a basket, while the female looks for a suitable location to oviposit. She will look for a location with aquatic vegetation and twigs in the water, where she will dip her abdomen in and release the 'basket' of eggs which become egg strings in the water. Often more than one female will oviposit in the same location

Range Maps

Click on the icons above for this species' range maps

Click here for county and state checklists from Odonata Central.

Range maps and checklists courtesy of Odonata Central. Copyright © 2016 OdonataCentral. All Rights Reserved. Abbott, J.C. 2006-2018. OdonataCentral: An online resource for the distribution and identification of Odonata. Available at www.odonatacentral.org.