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

Species Erythemis simplicicollis - Eastern Pondhawk

Eastern Pondhawk - Erythemis simplicicollis - male Eastern Pondhawk - Erythemis simplicicollis - male Eastern Pondhawk - Erythemis simplicicollis - male Dragonfly in Ohio - Erythemis simplicicollis - male dragonfly - Erythemis simplicicollis - male Eastern pondhawk? - Erythemis simplicicollis - male Eastern Pondhawk - Erythemis simplicicollis - female Eastern Pondhawk? - Erythemis simplicicollis - female green Dragon - Erythemis simplicicollis - female Eastern Pondhawk - Erythemis simplicicollis - female
Kingdom Animalia (Animals)
Phylum Arthropoda (Arthropods)
Subphylum Hexapoda (Hexapods)
Class Insecta (Insects)
Order Odonata (Dragonflies and Damselflies)
Suborder Anisoptera (Dragonflies)
Family Libellulidae (Skimmers)
Genus Erythemis (Pondhawks)
Species simplicicollis (Eastern Pondhawk)
Other Common Names
Common Pondhawk
Green Jacket
Synonyms and other taxonomic changes
see Remarks section below
One of five Nearctic species in the genus.
36-48 mm.
Females and young males are green with square blackish spots on the abdomen.

Young Males:

Males become pruinose blue with white claspers and a green face.
Turning Blue:

Full Adult Blue:



Closeup of thorax - Female:

Closeup of Thorax - Male:

Closeup of face:

Gender ID:
Terminal appendages Female:

Terminal appendages Male:

Sometimes one can see the ovipositor of the female under the end of the abdomen:

While males have secondary genitalia for sperm packet storage under abdominal segment 2:

From Ron Hemberger and Dragonflies through Binoculars(1): " …the cartwheel contest described below usually identifies male Eastern Pondhawks as far as they can be seen…” “Males have unusual vertical circling contests in which one male which is following another flies under and up in front of the leading male, then the new follower repeats this maneuver, and so forth up to a dozen times.”
Eastern North America, the Great Plains (excluding the Northernmost part), south to Texas, and spotty distribution in Arizona and New Mexico.
Primarily ponds. Adults often perch on the ground, and are quite unwary.
From Ron Hemberger and Dragonflies through Binoculars(1): “Habitat: Most quiet waters…including slightly brackish waters but not bogs. Usually associated with mats of algae, duckweed, water lilies, or other flat, floating plants.”
Among the first and last dragonflies of the season in a given area.
From Dragonflies through Binoculars(1): “All year in FL, early May to early Oct. in NJ.”
Adults feed on small flying insects.
From Dragonflies through Binoculars(1):“Pondhawks…commonly take prey as large as themselves, held by 3 large spines on each middle and hind thigh.” “They hunt from the ground or low perches…. A male territory encompasses about 5 square yards of algae mat or other floating plants.”
Feeding on other Dragonflies:
Dashers and Dragonlets
and Amberwings
as well as:
Butterflies and Moths
Craneflies and Bee Flies
Nymphs prey on aquatic invertebrates.
As of February 2006, the taxonomic reference followed by BugGuide does not recognize subspecies of E. simplicicollis, which they refer to as Eastern Pondhawk. They treat E. collocata as a separate species, and refer to it as Western Pondhawk.
The Dragonfly Society of the Americas (whose odonate list is hosted at Odonata Central) recognize two subspecies: E. simplicicollis simplicicollis - which they refer to as Eastern Pondhawk, and E. simplicicollis collocata - which refer to as Western Pondhawk. They give the name Common Pondhawk to the species as a whole.
See Also
Blue Dasher is smaller, with a white face and striped thorax.
Slaty Skimmer and Spangled Skimmer do not typically perch on the ground.
Print References
Internet References
Insects of West Virginia live adult images plus description of similar species and other info live adult image [by Brian Kenney, Florida] plus common name reference [Green Jacket] and other info
live adult images plus flight season and description of similar species (Dragonflies and Damselflies of New Jersey)