Black Saddlebags

Tramea lacerata

Black_Saddlebags_9-1988.jpg

Black saddlebags dragonfly perched on an upright twig
The black saddlebags (Tramea lacerata) is a skimmer dragonfly with distinctive, and memorable, dark markings on the hindwings.
Jim Rathert
Other Common Name
Saddlebags Skimmer
Family

Libellulidae (skimmers) in the order Odonata (dragonflies and damselflies)

Description

The black saddlebags is a dragonfly with memorable markings. Two dark blotches on each hindwing, positioned close to the body, look like saddlebags. This skimmer species typically stays in flight and rarely perches for long.

Learn more about this and other dragonflies on their group page.

Size

Length: 1½–2¼ inches.

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A black saddlebags dragonfly perching amid dried yellow grass stalks
Black Saddlebags Skimmer Perched On Grasses
Black saddlebags skimmers tend to always be in flight. They rarely spend much time perching.

Black_Saddlebags_just_emerged_9-1988.jpg

Newly emerged adult black saddlebags dragonfly perched on a smartweed flowerhead
Black Saddlebags Newly Emerged
Dragonflies typically are quite pale when they first emerge from their nymphal skin. This black saddlebags will soon become much darker.

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A closeup of a dragonfly with transparent lacy wings. The black markings on the hindwings are prominent.
A black saddlebags dragonfly in southeast Missouri