Minnesota Dragonfly

Swift River Cruiser

Macromia illinoiensis

The Swift River Cruiser is a long, slender, dark brown dragonfly with long wings, bright green eyes, and a single yellow side stripe on the thorax. They are strong flyers that can often be seen patrolling long territories along the shore of rivers, streams, and lakes


Field Marks
  • Average adult size is approximately from 2.6 to 3.0 inches
  • Brown face with bold yellow crossline and yellow spots on the top of frons
  • Large metallic green eyes
  • Dark metallic green and brown thorax with one yellow side stripe in the middle
  • Black legs
  • Shiny black abdomen with a yellow ring on segment 2, pair of yellow triangles on segments 3 and 4, a broad yellow ring, that is visible in flight, at the base of segment 7, and a pair of small spots on segment 8
  • Segment 7 to 10 show moderate clubbing
  • Dark terminal appendages

Click on photos above for a close-up view.

Field Marks
  • Female is colored similarly to the male
  • Female has more prominent top spots on segment 3 to 6
  • No noticeable clubbing at the end of the abdomen which is all black
  • Very small subgenital plates

Click on photos above for a close-up view.

Natural History


Active from almost dusk to dark, males make long distance patrol flights following the shoreline and darting after any interloper or female that they might find. When they are not flying they typically perch vertically from tree branches in the canopy, branches on bushes, weeds or other vegetation


Large streams and rivers, lakes with open shoreline


Females lay eggs by flying swift, low over the water and tapping their abdomen on the surface in intervals up to about 30 feet

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.