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

Species Epitheca princeps - Prince Baskettail

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Classification
Kingdom Animalia (Animals)
Phylum Arthropoda (Arthropods)
Subphylum Hexapoda (Hexapods)
Class Insecta (Insects)
Order Odonata (Dragonflies and Damselflies)
Suborder Anisoptera (Dragonflies)
Family Corduliidae (Emeralds)
Genus Epitheca (Baskettails)
Species princeps (Prince Baskettail)
Size
Length 5-8 cm
Identification
Flies constantly. Wing pattern resembles that of some skimmer, but narrow body shape is distinctive. Wings held in a slight dihedral (V) while flying.
Range
Eastern North America
Habitat
Permanent bodies of water: ponds, lakes, slow streams. Somewhat tolerant of muddy water.
Season
March-December in Florida, June to August in northernmost part of range.
Food
Predatory on flying insects. Often feeds high over trees, may form swarms in evening.
Life Cycle
Females oviposit in evening. A rope of eggs (up to 50 cm long!) is draped over a stem of emergent vegetation. Males patrol low (or up to 2 m high) over water for hours (or all day) gliding, then flitting wings.
Remarks
Larger in south, up to 8 cm, as large as a Darner. Typically seen as a male patrolling over a pond. Perches (in evening?) by hanging under twigs.

The southeastern form, regina, is usually larger, more heavily marked, and has a slightly different spot pattern:
Print References
Dunkle, p. 142, plate 23 (1)
Internet References