Minnesota Dragonfly

Eastern Amberwing

Perithemis tenera

The Eastern Amberwing is the second smallest dragonfly in North America. Males have red and brown eyes, brownish-tan bodies with pale stripes on the thorax and abdomen, yellowish legs and bright amber wings. Females look similar but they have clear wings with brown and amber wing patches

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Identification

Field Marks
  • Average adult size is approximately from 0.7 to 1.0 inches
  • Orange-tan face
  • Eyes red on top tan-brown below
  • Brown thorax with 2 pale side stripes
  • Yellow legs
  • Bright amber wing veins and membrane with red stigma
  • Abdomen orange-brown with pale rings separating the segments and faint pale top spots in center of segments 3 to 8 becoming more triangular on segment 5 and beyond
  • Terminal appendages yellow with cerci slightly longer than epiproct

Click on photos above for a close-up view.

Field Marks
  • Female is colored similarly to the male
  • Main difference between male and female is the wings. Females have clear wings with two black and amber patches on each wing.
  • Wing patches are irregular shaped with brown splotch surrounded by amber. Patches further out the wing are larger
  • Subgenital plate is shaped like a tube with a lip at the top that folds out

Click on photos above for a close-up view.

Natural History

Behavior

Males defend a small territory, usually from a perch on a branch or floating vegetation, and chase away the competition, sometimes even grabbing them in tandem and dragging them away. Males may change their territory frequently. When not mating Eastern Amberwing can often be found in fields far from the water, foraging or perching in the grass or trees. On warm days they often point their abdomen towards the sun, in an obelisk position, to minimize the amount of their surface area that is absorbing heat

Habitat

Still and slow moving waters such as ponds, lakes, roadside ditches and slow-moving streams

Reproduction

Mating is quick and typically takes place perched. Females lay eggs, either in tandem or with male guarding, by tapping their abdomen on algae mats, floating logs, or in the water among vegetation

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.