New York Natural Heritage Program
Golden-winged Skimmer
Libellula auripennis Burmeister, 1839

Identifying Characteristics [-]
Adult Golden-winged Skimmers are about 2.0 inches long with reddish-brown eyes. Adult males have an orange-brown face and thorax and a bright orange abdomen with a black dorsal (top) stripe. Their wing veins become orange from the front to the rear of the wing and the stigma (a blood-filled blister near the tip of the wing) is red. Females and immature males have a brown face and thorax. They have two pale stripes on the sides of the thorax and a broad white mid-dorsal stripe on the thorax as well. They have a yellow abdomen with a black dorsal stripe and yellow tinged wings with yellow stigmas (Dunkle 2000, Nikula et al. 2003).

Behavior [-]
Female Golden-winged Skimmers oviposit (lay eggs) by tapping the tips of their abdomens onto the surface of the water while simultaneously releasing eggs (Nikula et al. 2003). Adults of both sexes forage in open fields. Males perch on the tops of plant stems in foraging fields, while females generally perch half-way down the stems (Dunkle 2000). Males are territorial and will defend areas along pond shores or over open water (Nikula et al. 2003).

Diet [-]
Golden-winged Skimmer larvae feed on smaller aquatic invertebrates and adults feed on insects which they capture in flight.
Golden-winged Skimmer Images
click to enlarge
The Best Time to See
Adult Golden-winged Skimmers have been found in New York from June through mid July, but could possibly be seen into early September (Nikula et al. 2003, New York Natural Heritage Program, 2007).
Present Reproducing
The time of year you would expect to find Golden-winged Skimmer present (blue shading) and reproducing (orange shading) in New York.
Similar Species
  • Needham's Skimmer (Libellula needhami)
    The abdomen and face of the male Libellula needhami is more red than that of the Golden-winged Skimmer (Dunkle 2000). In addition, the tibia (or middle segment) of the hind legs are pale brown on the Needham's Skimmer and black on the Golden-winged Skimmer. The posterior (rear) half of the wings are suffused with orange-yellow on the Golden-winged Skimmer with an orange-yellow leading edge basally, while the anterior (front) portion of the wings on Needham's Skimmer are red-orange with a brownish leading edge basally (Nikula et at. 2003).