Minnesota Dragonfly

Prince Baskettail

Epitheca princeps

The Prince Baskettail is the easiest Baskettail to identify. It is a large dark dragonfly with green eyes, and dark patches on the wings. Its size and wing pattern make it look very different from other Baskettails

Identification

Field Marks
  • Average adult size is approximately from 2.3 to 3.0 inches
  • Face yellow to tan with no distinct facial markings
  • Green eyes when mature
  • Thorax mostly brown to tan with faint yellow spots possible on the sides
  • Dark abdomen with bold pale ring separating segments 2 and 3 and less distinct rings separating the other segments
  • Yellow patches on the sides of segments 4 to 8
  • Dark terminal appendages
  • Dark spots on the base, middle and tip of each wing

Click on photos above for a close-up view.

Field Marks
  • Female is colored similarly to the male
  • Red and grey eyes becoming green when mature
  • Long terminal appendages, the length of segments 9 and 10 combined
  • Subgenital plates more rounded, 'U' shaped and about equal in length to segment 9

Click on photos above for a close-up view.

Similar Species

Twelve-spotted Skimmer: It is fairly easy to distinguish the Prince Baskettail from a mature male Twelve-spotted Skimmer. Mature male Twelve-spotted Skimmers develop pruinose on the abdomen, turning it blue-gray, and on the wings, creating small white wing spots. These are not found on the Prince Baskettail. It is a bit more difficult to distinguish female Twelve-spotted Skimmers as well as immature males because they are primarily brown with black spots at the base, nodus and tip of each wing like the Prince Baskettail.

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

Common Whitetail: It is fairly easy to distinguish the Prince Baskettail from a mature male Common Whitetail. Mature male Common Whitetail develop pruinose on the abdomen, turning it white. They also have a slightly different spot pattern on their wings. It is a bit more difficult to distinguish female Common Whitetail as well as immature males because they are primarily brown with black spots at the base, nodus and tip of each wing like the Prince Baskettail.

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

Natural History

Behavior

This species looks more like a Skimmer, with its size and wing pattern, but acts more like a Darner. A strong flyer they patrol the shoreline, chasing away most any other dragonfly. When perched they hang vertically, like a darner

Habitat

Lakes and ponds, slow moving streams and rivers

Reproduction

Mating occurs in fight. Females produce eggs which accumulate on the end of their abdomen, like a tiny basket, while the female looks for a suitable location to oviposit. She will look for a location with aquatic vegetation, often floating on the water, where she will dip her abdomen in and release the 'basket' of eggs which become long 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.