Explanation of Names
Libellula croceipennis Selys 1868
Similar to Flame Skimmer, but thorax and abdomen bright red, wings not as broadly amber/brown streaked. (Amber wash on wings does not extend beyond the nodus)
L. saturata - Flame skimmer: males bright orange with amber color in the wings covering half the width of the wing, out to the nodus, and all the way to the rear of the hind wing. Females paler but still with some amber at least on the leading edge of the wing. See
L. croceipennis - Neon Skimmer: males bright red with amber wing color only covering a quarter of the wing, halfway to the nodus, and not all the way back to the rear edge of the hind wing. Female paler and with essentially clear wings. See
sw US: CA-LA, OK (BG data) - see partial range map
Slow streams, ponds. Neon Skimmers prefer shaded moving water when there's a choice of sites, but males will defend ponds as well. Males are typically found near water, defending territory vigorously early in the season, and perching more often later. Females appear at water to lay eggs. Perching sites for males include bushes, trees (both overhanging water, and near water), and strong emergent vegetation; perching height is usually one to five feet above water, most commonly 1-3 feet. They will perch on horizontal, slanted, or vertical twigs/branches/stems.
Females lay eggs in standing or slow-moving water by dipping the tip of the abdomen and "scooping" drops of water, with eggs, onto algal mats or emergent or streamside vegetation. Females are not clasped by males during egglaying, which typically takes place in midday (late morning through early afternoon.)
Compared to other red dragonflies in the area, male Neon Skimmers are larger and "glow" in the sun...they are aptly named "Neon." The females are golden-colored in sunlight, especially when laying eggs, but may look duller tan on cloudy days or in shade. Very strong flyers, relatively bold and easy to photograph.
Dunkle, pp. 181-182, plate 32 (1)
Abbott, pp. 269-270, photos 54f, 55a (2)