Up Close and Personal with a Female Flame Skimmer

Jun 21, 2013

What a beauty.

But not nearly as striking as her male counterpart.

The flame skimmer dragonfly (Libellula saturata) owned a perch on a bamboo stake last Tuesday in residential Davis.

Davis resident Gary Zamzow, a dynamite insect photographer (especially bumble bees), pointed his Pentax camera at the insect, just inches away.

The dragonfly did not move.

“The female flame skimmers are not as intensely orange as the males are and they also have the expansions on the 7th abdominal tergite that you can see in your picture  (below),” said senior museum entomologist Steve Heydon of the Bohart Museum of Entomology (http://bohart.ucdavis.edu/), University of California, Davis. 

If you like dragonflies, you may want to purchase a dragonfly poster at the museum, located in Room 1124 of the Academic Surge building on Crocker Lane, or online at its gift shop.  It features 18 species of dragonfies, ranging from the common whitetail and green darner to the Western river cruiser and the bison snaketail. And, of course the flame skimmer.

Entomology doctoral candidate Fran Keller designed the poster with images provided and donated to the museum by naturalist Greg Kareofelas of Davis.