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Species Libellula auripennis - Golden-winged Skimmer

BG901 373b5 - Libellula auripennis - female Golden-winged, not Needham's Skimmer - side view - Libellula auripennis - male Golden-winged Skimmer - Libellula auripennis Golden-Winged Skimmer - Libellula auripennis - male Needham's or golden-winged skimmer, female - Libellula auripennis - male Dragonfly 56 - Libellula auripennis Golden-winged Skimmer - Libellula auripennis - female Golden-winged Skimmer - Libellula auripennis
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 Libellula
Species auripennis (Golden-winged Skimmer)
Size
Length 5 cm
Identification
Male has mostly orange body. Very similar, if not indistinguishable in the field, from Needham's Skimmer. The latter is restricted to the coastal southeastern United States.

Gayle & Jeanell have just done some nice work figuring out the differences between needhami and auripennis, which can be found here. Gayle reports "For highest resolution, click on "get original uploaded photo", which appears below each image.
The high resolution files are 400-450K and might take a while to download with a dial-up connection. If your monitor resizes these higher resolution images, the full size can be restored by clicking on the "expand" icon which usually appears in the lower right corner of the resized image."
Range
Eastern United States, northern Mexico
Habitat
Grassy ponds, ditches, slow streams
Season
May to August in northeast, February to November in Florida
Food
Predatory on flying insects
Life Cycle
Foraging in fields, males perch at tips of plant stems, females perch at middle. At breeding ponds, males perch on tips of weeds or patrol along waters edge in a nervous fashion.
Print References
Dunkle, p. 179, plate 31 (1)
Dunkle (2)
Nikula (3)
Internet References
Giff Beaton's page on King Skimmers, including Golden-winged and Needham's
Works Cited
1.Dragonflies Through Binoculars: A Field Guide to Dragonflies of North America
Sidney W. Dunkle. 2000. Oxford Press.
2.Dragonflies of the Florida Peninsula, Bermuda, and the Bahamas
Sidney W. Dunkle. 1989. Scientific Publishers.
3.Stokes Beginner's Guide to Dragonflies
Donald and Lillian Stokes. 2002. Little, Brown and Company.