|Black Saddlebags Dragonfly – Tramea lacerata|
Order Odonata / Suborder Anisoptera
Live adult dragonflies photographed in the wild at various North American locations.
The black saddlebags dragonfly can be found almost everywhere in the United States except in some extreme northern areas of the country. It ranges south to Baja California and Mexico and is also found on Hawaii, the Florida Keys, Bermuda and Cuba. It can be seen as far north as Quebec, Ontario and British Columbia in Canada.
The black saddlebags' hind wings are quite long and wide, with the eponymous iridescent black bands. Besides these markings, the rest of the wing is clear. I consider black saddlebags to be a rather large dragonfly (it's about 50mm long), though not quite as large as the green darner. The males are predominately black, with deeper coloring than the females who are larger, and possess a whitish-yellow spotted pattern on the dorsal side of their abdomen (a trait shared by newborn males as well.) Females and the young also have a lighter face, almost yellow in color, that distinguishes them from the males. Both genders have black legs.
The black saddlebags glides through the air using its broadened hind wings, thus feeding predominantly on small flying insects. When food is amply available in a particular area, feeding swarms may be formed; sometimes of only males, but never with just females. I rarely see this dragonfly perching anywhere. I think this specimen may have been sick, although it did disappear rather suddenly.
Order Odonata: dragonflies and damselflies date back 300 million years, to the Carboniferous Period of the Paleozoic Era. These colorful, enchanting insects are revered second only to the butterflies in the popular psyche. Explore detailed close-up photographs of live, adult dragonflies and damselflies photographed in the wild.
Insects | Odonata Index | Dragonflies | Damselflies | Bugs Index | Spiders