Identification, Images, & Information
For Insects, Spiders & Their Kin
For the United States & Canada
Golden-winged or Needhams’? - Libellula needhami - male

Golden-winged or Needhams’? - Libellula needhami - Male
Spanish Fort, Baldwin County, Alabama, USA
July 27, 2012
A red skimmer spotted at 5 Rivers - Alabama's Delta Resource Center during Bug Swarm 2012. I am not sure whether this is Libellula needhami or L. auripennis. As seen in the detail photo of the left wing, the color on the leading edge of the forewing does appear to change slightly at the node indicating L. needhami, but I think there are only 3 paranal cells proximal to the anal loop, which suggests L. auripennis. Some L needhami, however, have 3 on one wing and four on the other as shown in some of these examples and this individual. The BugGuide data also suggest that L needhami is more common in Alabama. (Note: this interpretation of the data isn't quite right – see comments below.)


Images of this individual: tag all
Golden-winged or Needhams’? - Libellula needhami - male Golden-winged or Needhams'? - Libellula needhami - male

Moved from Libellula.

We don't know that needhami is necessarily more common
in Alabama, but our understanding is that it is more common near the coast than auripennis, so it is coastal vs interior. And yes, we would say this is needhami

Ah ha!
After looking at the Alabama data again, I think I jumped to a wrong conclusion because of the distribution of Alabama BugGuide contributors, rather than the abundance of the two species in the state. As of now, BugGuide has 14 reports of L. needhami from Alabama – only 1 from the interior (Auburn) and 13 from the Mobile area – 9 from the 2012 Bug Swarm and 4 from a certain prolific contributor from Mobile. The one Alabama report of L. auripennis is from Auburn. So it seems very likely that this is L. needhami.