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DIPHLEBIIDAE
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Coastal Petaltail
 
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LIBELLULIDAE - Percher, Skimmer and Glider Dragonflies

This page contains pictures and information about Percher, Skimmer and Glider Dragonflies that we found in the Brisbane area, Queensland, Australia.
 
Mating couple 
 
The dragonflies in this family are usually with distinctly broadened abdomen. They are from small to large in size, with body length 20-60 mm and wings span 30-100 mm. Their body is distinctively shorter than their wings span. They are usually red, yellow or blue in colour. Some species have wings patterns. The males are often brightly colored and tend to perch in the open on exposed branches, logs, or sandy shorelines. 
 
Black-headed Skimmer - a common Skimmer dragonfly in Brisbane
 
The Percher or Skimmer spend more time at rest than the dragonflies in other families. Most of them perch with the body horizontal with wings outstretched. Some of them holding the abdomen angled upward and some with wings forward and depressed. 
 
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Larval exuviae of  Skimmer Dragonflies, length 25mm 
 
The males are territorial and will often return to the same or a nearby spot. This makes taking their photos much easier than the other families. Female usually less colourful than male but with the same wings markings. They prefer pond instead of fast running water. Females oviposit alone or in the company of guarding males. She dips the abdomen in the water for releasing the eggs.

 
Common Archtail, Stream Watcher
    
Nannophlebia risi, body Length 32mm
This is a small dragonfly found in Bulimba Creek. The dragonfly is black and yellow in colour, slender-bodied, the last few segments of the abdomen swollen like a clubtail dragonfly. Its two eyes are in contact and green in colour like a emerald dragonfly. However, it belong to the family Libellulidae (skimmer). 
 
 
Black-headed Skimmer, Blue Scarlet
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Crocothemis nigrifrons, matured male, young male, body length 45mm 
The male dragonfly has black thorax and blue abdomen, with a black line on the back along the top of abdomen. The males change their colour when they become matured. The matured mates are powdered blue in colour. Before they become matured, they are yellow brown. Which is the same colour as the female. More information please click here.  
 

 
Blue Skimmer Dragonfly, Sky Blue Dragonfly
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Orthetrum caledonicum, male, female, body length 45mm
This dragonfly is common in Brisbane. They can be found in almost every ponds. The males have grey blue thorax and abdomen, with dark colour on abdomen tip. They fly amount the low vegetation over the pond. They usually return to the same spots after a short flight. Females are greenish-yellow in colour. More information on Blue Skimmer page.
 
 
Fiery Skimmer, Bog Skimmer Dragonfly
    
Orthetrum villosovittatum, female,  male, body length 45mm 
The above pictures show a female, which is bright yellow to yellowish-brown in colour,  and a male which is bright red in colour. Their thorax are dark in colour. The wings of females are yellowish-brown. They can be found over still or slow flowing water. More information please visit this page.
 
 
Slender Skimmer
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Orthetrum sabina, body length 50mm
Slender Skimmer is yellow to greenish yellow in colour, with black markings. There are yellow and black strips on the body sides and brown spot at base of hindwings. They are usually found on shallow still water. More pictures and information can be found in this page.
 

 
Palemouth, Palemouth Shorttail Dragonfly
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Brachydiplax denticauda, body length 35mm 
The dragonfly has the light blue body with black tip. It head is dark metallic colour. It is a small dragonfly.  This dragonfly can only be found on ponds and still waters. They fly in a short distance and always return to the same perch. The above pictures was taken in a pond in Wishart in a hot summer afternoon.
 

Scarlet Percher
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Diplacodes haematodes, male, female, body length 35mm
The male Scarlet Percher Dragonflies have the red eyes, red face, red thorax and red abdomen. There are no markings on their abdomen. There are also the reddish suffusions on their wing bases. The females are pale yellow in colour.  This dragonfly like to perch on creek stone or sand bed. They can be found near the ponds along Bulimba Creek in Brisbane. There are more information on the Scarlet Percher page.
 
Wandering Percher, Common Percher
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Diplacodes bipunctata, male, female, body length 32mm
The Common Percher Dragonfly is small in size. The matured male dragonfly has the red eyes, red face, red thorax and red abdomen., with red mark on the wing tips. The immature male has the same colour as female. They are sandy yellow. Both have shiny black markings on the back of abdomen. Notice their abdomen are a bit narrower at the middle. More information on the Wandering Percher page.
 
 
Black Faced Percher
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Diplacodes Melanopsis, tandem pair, female, body length 35mm
This red dragonfly male is easily recognized for his all black face. Males have red adbomen marked with board black band on each segment. Females are similar but abdomen is orange-grey to greenish-grey and face with lighter colours. They are found only in large still waters and not in the running creeks. More pictures and information can be found in this page
 

 
Red Arrow
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Rhodothemis lieftincki, body length 40mm
Red Arrow has the straight long triangle like an arrow head. There is the orange smoky triangular suffusion at the hindwing base. Female is orange in colour. More details please check our Red Arrow page. 
 

 
Graphic Flutterer, Banded Flutterer
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Rhyothemis graphiptera, body length 33mm
This dragonfly is very easy to recognize. Its body is shorter than its wingspread. The two pairs of wings are in gold colour with brown pattern. We see a lot of these dragonflies flying around in Macgregor Park. More information and pictures can be found in this page.
 
 
Yellow-striped Flutterer
 
Rhyothemis phyllis, body length 40mm
This dragonfly flies with fluttering in a slow speed, gliding most of the time. Its wings are much longer than its body. This dragonfly is easily recognized. The head and body are dark brown in colour. It wings are clear, with black tips and striped patterns on hind-wings. We found many of them near Oxley Creek in Brisbane. More information click here.
 
 
Red Baron
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Urothemis aliena, female, body length 50mm
This is a NEQ species and considered rare in South-east Queensland. The rounded deep solid red suffusion in base of hindwings distinguished the Red Baron from other dragonflies. We found this dragonfly only once. Details please find in this page.
 
 
Red Swamp Dragon
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Agrionoptera insignis allogenes, body length 50mm
The Red Swamp Dragon is a medium size dragonfly with slender red abdomen. The abdomen tip is black in colour. The head and thorax is light bright green. Please check this page for more information. 
 
 
Short-tailed Duskdarter, Stout Duskdarter Dragonfly
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Zyxomma elgneri, male, female, body length 45mm 
The Short-tailed Duskdarter Dragonfly is dark brown in colour, with dark colour on all wing tips. Their eyes are green in colour. They do no look like skimmers although they are in FAMILY LIBELLULIDAE. Their abdomen is slender and longer than their wings. They do not perch and active during the evening. More information please click on here
 
 
Water Prince Dragonfly
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Hydrobasileus brevistylus , female, male, body length 50mm
We saw this Water Prince Dragonfly a few times while it was laying eggs alone on creek and small ponds in mid summer. They are large dragonflies with strong body. Its abdomen is black with yellow spots. More information click on here.
 
 
Common Glider
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Tramea loewii (Trapezostigma loewii), female, male, body length 50m
The male Common Glider has the red abdomen with black tip while female is brown and dark brown. Their hind wing bases are dark red in colour while the rest of its wings are clear. The dragonflies fly, usually glide, high above ground near the creek. Sometimes they rest high on the leafless tree top. Click here for more pictures and information.
 

Reference:
1. The Australian Dragonflies - CSIRO, Watson, Theisinger & Abbey,1991, p235.
2. A Field Guide to Dragonflies of South East Queensland - Ric Nattrass, 2006, p82.
3. The Complete Field Guide to Dragonflies of Australia - CSIRO, Günther Theischinger and John Hawking, 2006, p256. 

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Last updated: March 26, 2011.