Sunday, June 20, 2010
This gorgeous dragonfly is called the "Black Saddlebags" (Tramea lacerata). This is the first time I've ever seen this dragonfly, yet they are reported to be very common. This one showed up at my goldfish pond. It is reported that they fly and glide constantly and rarely sit still and perch. I feel very fortunate that this one was so cooperative. Eric Eaton from bugguide felt that this was a newly emerged adult, if that is the case it would explain why it was sitting so quietly. They have very large hindwings that are used for gliding. They are found throughout North America except for the upper Midwest. They will often be found a long way from water hunting for insect prey in open fields.
After mating the females will lay eggs in fish free temporary or permanent pools of water. They are partially migratory, specimens further north will migrate south. Sometimes this may occur in large swarms.
These are a large dragonfly with a 4 inch wingspan, and they have very distinct black "saddles" on their wings. The head is dark brown in color, and the female may have mottling or spotting on their abdomen. They are efficient at mosquito control, both the larvae and the adult feed on mosquito larvae. They are beneficial to have around areas where there is stagnant or standing water that breeds mosquitoes.