Identification, Images, & Information
For Insects, Spiders & Their Kin
For the United States & Canada

Species Orthemis ferruginea - Roseate Skimmer

Roseate Skimmer - Orthemis ferruginea - male Roseate Skimmer - Orthemis ferruginea - male Dragonfly - Orthemis ferruginea Violet dragonfly - Orthemis ferruginea Dragonfly - Orthemis ferruginea Dragonfly - Orthemis ferruginea Unknown Odonate - Orthemis ferruginea - male Unidentified Dragonfly - Orthemis ferruginea - female
Classification
Kingdom Animalia (Animals)
Phylum Arthropoda (Arthropods)
Subphylum Hexapoda (Hexapods)
Class Insecta (Insects)
Order Odonata (Dragonflies and Damselflies)
Suborder Anisoptera (Dragonflies)
Family Libellulidae (Skimmers)
Genus Orthemis
Species ferruginea (Roseate Skimmer)
Explanation of Names
ferrugineus is Latin for "rusty"
Size
total length 46-55mm
Identification
Males: lavender-blue thorax and lavender pink (rosy purple) abdomen, with a metallic purple face and dark purple-red (burgundy?) eyes. Females: yellow-to-golden brown. In flight, depending on the angle of light, they can look pink or magenta or purple. This is a strong-flying species, a typical "big skimmer."
Range
Across southern United States: California to Florida, north to Carolinas.
Habitat
Ponds and quiet water, both permanent and temporary rain pools, stock tanks, etc. In central Texas, these dragonflies seem to prefer water where they do not have to compete with Neon Skimmers (more aggressive in defending territory.) They will mate and lay eggs in even small pools (bathtub size) if there is vegetation nearby or overhanging, strong enough to perch on. Males guard water from vegatation near it, and patrol vigorously (but do not seem to compete well with Neon Skimmers, at least to our observation--but Neons prefer shaded running water, so they often choose different areas anyway.
Season
In Texas, late summer through fall. Abbott reports two emergence peaks in Lousiana, one in spring and one in late summer/early fall.

Roseates fly in midday when some other species are not flying.
Food
Insects
Remarks
The males are unmistakeable and breathtaking--a streak of purple or rosy-pink. The females resemble female Neon Skimmers in their coloration and use the same egg-laying technique (flicking eggs in water droplets towards the shore or emergent vegetation.)

Tenerals are brown.
Print References
(1)
Works Cited
1.Dragonflies and Damselflies of Texas and the South-Central United States
John C. Abbott. 2005. Princeton University Press.