Orthetrum coerulescens Libellulidae Keeled Skimmer

Biology male female Irish distribution

Orthetrum coerulescens

Very local confined to upland areas. Adults can be seen from early June to late August. Adult Keeled Skimmers are found in heaths and bogs where there are shallow flushes and pools. The largest populations occur at low levels on south facing slopes but it has been recorded up to 350m. Adults are prone to wandering and have been recorded in unusual sites especially late in the flight season.

Within its normal habitat this species should be readily identifiable. Mature males could be confused with the Black-tailed Skimmer Orthetrum cancellatum or the much rarer Scarce Chaser Libellula fulva and the Broad-bodied Chaser L. depressa (both these species are only known in Ireland from 19th Century records and are unlikely to be encountered). However both the Black-tailed Skimmer and the Scarce Chaser have a black tip to the abdomen and in the Broad-bodied Chaser the abdomen is much broader and flattened. Immature males and females are similar in size and colour to Darters (Sympetrums) however they can be distinguished by the white antehumeral stripes (visible in the female photograph) and the absence of yellow on the sides of the thorax.


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Nelson, B., Thompson, R. & Morrow, C., 2000 (May 8). [In] DragonflyIreland http://www.ulstermuseum.org.uk/dragonflyireland/

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