Minnesota Dragonfly

Widow Skimmer

Libellula luctuosa

The Widow Skimmer is a medium sized King Skimmer that is easily recognized by the large patches at the base of the wings. Females are yellow and black with black wing patches that cover about a third of the wings. Males are blue-grey with black and white patches that cover about half of the wings


Field Marks
  • Average adult size is approximately 1.8 inches
  • Brown eyes
  • Brown face
  • Thorax brown with some pruinose on top
  • Abdomen bluish white pruinose covering yellow and black stripes
  • Black legs
  • Wings black from base to nodus then white pruinose from black to stigma
  • Immature look like female with yellow and black striped abdomens
  • Immature males may have slight white pruinose markings on the wings

Click on photos above for a close-up view.

Field Marks
  • Females look similar to immature males, most lack the pruinose that males get as the age
  • Face and thorax lighter brown than males
  • Abdomen has black stripe running down center flanked by two wide yellow stripes
  • Wings black from base to nodus with black tips and no white pruinose
  • Shell shaped subgenital plates

Click on photos above for a close-up view.

Natural History


Commonly found away from water perched on bushes or other vegetation in fields or along the side of the road.


Lakes, ponds, marshes and slow streams. Typically with muddy bottoms and plenty of vegetation.


Where populations are dense males vie for dominance, with dominant male doing most of the mating. In sparser populations males patrol a territory near the water looking for females. Females lay eggs by dipping abdomen in the water. Females lay eggs alone or sometimes male will hover guard.

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.