New York Natural Heritage Program
Mantled Baskettail
Epitheca semiaquea (Burmeister, 1839)

Identifying Characteristics [-]
Baskettails are in the Emerald (Corduliidae) family and have hairy, brown bodies, yellow-orange abdominal side spots and are less metallic looking than most emeralds (Dunkle 2000, Mead 2003). Mantled Baskettails were often confused with Common Baskettails (Epitheca cynosura) prior to 1973 because they are so similar in appearance (Dunkle 2000). In the southern United States, the Mantled Baskettail has brown on the basal half of the hind wing where the brown spot reaches the nodus and the rear edge of the wing (Dunkle 2000). However, from north New Jersey, New York, and Massachusetts to Nova Scotia, the Mantled is less easily distinguished from the Common Baskettail, as the Mantled have reduced or absent wing markings (T. Donnelly, pers. comm.). The Mantled also have shorter and thicker abdomens, with a gentle tapering from front to rear when compared with Common Baskettails (T. Donnelly, pers. comm.). Both sexes of the Mantled Baskettail tend to appear slightly convex marginally at abdominal segment 3, while there is a distinct constriction in this location in male Common Baskettails (Needham et al. 2000). The male terminal appendages of the two species can be distinguished in populations south of New Jersey; however, this difference has not been consistent in northern populations like New York (Needham et al. 2000).

Behavior [-]
Adult Mantled Baskettails forage for food in clearings with a rapid and bouncy flight, and adult males are known to patrol their territories either in the shade or at dusk (Dunkle 2000).

Diet [-]
Both larvae and adults of Mantled Baskettails are predators and feed on smaller invertebrates.
Mantled Baskettail Images
click to enlarge
The Best Time to See
In recent years, Mantled Baskettail adults have been observed in New York from late May through mid- July (New York Natural Heritage Program 2009). Further searching may reveal earlier appearance, as they have been documented in New Jersey in mid-April (Dunkle 2000).
Present Reproducing
The time of year you would expect to find Mantled Baskettail present (blue shading) and reproducing (orange shading) in New York.
Similar Species
  • Spiny Baskettail (Tetragoneuria spinigera)
    The Spiny Baskettail is slightly larger than the Common Baskettail and presumably the Mantled as well and can be distinguished from other baskettails by a dorsal spine present on the male terminal appendages.
  • Common Baskettail (Tetragoneuria cynosura)
    The Common Baskettail is very similar to the Mantled Baskettail in New York, but much more common. New York records for the Mantled Baskettail are verified by state expert Thomas "Nick" Donnelly who has the experience to distinguish these subtle differences.
  • Beaverpond Baskettail (Tetragoneuria canis)
    The Beaverpond Baskettail is slightly larger than the Common Baskettail and presumably the Mantled as well and can be distinguished in the males by their terminal appendages.