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Black-lined skimmer - Top view
Black-lined skimmer - Top view


Black-lined skimmer
The black-lined skimmer (Orthetrum cancellatum), also called the black-tailed skimmer, is a species in the order dragonflies and damselflies (Odonata), the suborder dragonflies (Anisoptera), the superfamily Libelluloidea, the family skimmers (Libellulidae), the subfamily Libellulinae, and the genus Orthetrum. A scientific synonym for this species is Libellula cancellata. Subspecies of Orthetrum cancellatum are as follows: Orthetrum cancellatum cancellatum, Orthetrum cancellatum kraepelini and Orthetrum cancellatum orientale. The black-lined skimmer is widespread and common in Europe and the Palaearctic ecozone of Asia and North Africa. In Central Europe it is one of the most noticeable and common species of dragonfly.
Orthetrum cancellatum - Front view
Orthetrum cancellatum - Front view
Adult Orthetrum cancellatum reach body lengths of about 50 mm. While both sexes are pale grey-green when they hatch, marked differences in colouration occur later on (sexual dimorphism). The females become a yellowish colour. With increasing age, this changes to brown and then darkens and they are finally olive to green in colour. The males are pale blue to grey blue.
Black-lined skimmer - Male - Orthetrum cancellatum
Black-lined skimmer - Male - Orthetrum cancellatum
The thorax in both sexes is yellowish brown to olive-brown. The abdomen of the females isup to 34 mm in length and dark with a mesh-like pattern and 2 black bands running lengthwise. In older females the abdomen may turn blue (through coverage with wax). The 2nd to 7th abdominal segments of the older males (excreted by wax that adheres to the surface) are also a powdery blue. The abdomen of the males reaches lengths of 30 - 35 mm. Young males also have a lattice like pattern on the abdomen. The tip of the abdomen - 8th to 10th segment - darkens considerably after mating.
Orthetrum cancellatum - Female
Orthetrum cancellatum - Female
The forewings are colourless and have a span of 75 - 100 mm. There is a black marking (Pterostigma) on the wing tips of both sexes. The anterior area and base of the wings are yellow in colour, often to the knot. In older females (by separated wax particles) there can be a weak blue pattern. The hind wings are 35 - 41 mm long and 2. 3 - 3. 5 mm wide. When sitting, the black-lined skimmer raises its 1st pair of legs on.
Black-lined skimmer - Female
Black-lined skimmer - Female
The black-lined skimmer prefers rocky edges of water with many stones, sand pits and loose reeds or rushes or standing water (lakes, ponds, pools) or beaches. Adults are found from June to September. They live off insects. The black-lined skimmer establishes a territory and the males occasionally patrol this near the surface of the water. Competing species of dragonflies are systematically expelled from the area. The black-lined skimmer is very shy and always maintains a greater flight distance. Females usually remain hidden in the riparian vegetation and only rarely appear. They hunt in the evening and can only be observed flying in daylight during the mating season. Mating starts in the air and is completed after 5 - 10 minutes on a solid surface, on the ground or on plant parts.
The fertilized females lay 20 - 30 oblong eggs, about 0. 5 mm in length, immediately after mating. This is done near the water’s edge, in the presence of the males who keep watch. After oviposition the females are guided back to the riparian vegetation by the males, and mating occurs again. The grip of the female on the male is so strong during mating that the blue wax layer at the end of the male’s abdomen dissolves and the tip turns black.
After 2 - 3 weeks, the larvae hatch from the eggs. They live on the muddy, herbaceous ground near the banks of the water and feed on micro-organisms. The larvae are sepia-coloured, hairy, and 25 - 26 mm in length. The width of the body, at the 6th or 7th segment, is about 8 mm. The encrusted ocelli are at the front of the relatively small head. The antennae consist of 7 segments. The larvae overwinter twice in water and leave those on a plant stem, 2 to 3 years after they have hatched from their eggs. The new generation of black-lined skimmers hatch at the end of May.

Orthetrum cancellatum
Subspecies3
Common namesBlack-Tailed Skimmer, Black-lined skimmer
German namesGroßer Blaupfeil
Dutch namesGewone oeverlibel
Danish namesStor Blåpil, Stor Blapil
Finnish namesMerisinikorento
Swedish namesStor sjötrollslända, Större sjötrollslända
AuthorCarl von Linné (Carl Nilsson Linnæus), 1758
Eco zoneFreshwater
Distribution
Continents:

Eurasia
Asia
South Asia (India, Nepal), West Asia (Near East (Turkey, Iran)), Far East (East Asia (Mongolia)), Central Asia (Turkestan (Kyrgyzstan))
Europe
North Europe (Germany (West Germany (North Rhine-Westphalia)), British Isles (United Kingdom (Great Britain (England (English Midlands (East Midlands (Leicestershire, Derbyshire, Northamptonshire)), North England (Northwest England (Cheshire))))), Ireland), Scandinavia (Norway, Sweden, Denmark), Fennoscandia (Finland (Åland Islands)), Baltic region (Baltic States (Estonia))), Central Europe (Poland, Hungary, Czech Republic (Moravia, Bohemia), Slovakia), West Europe (Austria, France (South France (Corsica)), Switzerland, Benelux (Belgium, Netherlands, Luxembourg), Liechtenstein), South Europe (Italy (Italy Islands (Sicily, Sardinia), North Italy, South Italy), Iberian Peninsula (Spain, Portugal)), Southeast Europe (Romania, Yugoslavia (Slovenia, Serbia and Montenegro (Serbia)), Greece), East Europe (Belarus)
Russia
Africa
West Africa
Gambia
North Africa
Morocco


CountriesAustria, Belarus, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Gambia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, India, Iran, Ireland, Italy, Kyrgyzstan, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Mongolia, Morocco, Nepal, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, United Kingdom
Links and ReferencesOrthetrum cancellatum in faunaeur.org
Orthetrum cancellatum in dyntaxa.se
Orthetrum cancellatum in Wikipedia (English)

Description of images / photos
Photography with Cameras
Nikon D3x, Nikon D300, Canon 50D
Image editing with Photoshop
1. Black-lined skimmer - Top view
2. Orthetrum cancellatum - Front view
3. Black-lined skimmer - Male - Orthetrum cancellatum
4. Orthetrum cancellatum - Female
5. Black-lined skimmer - Female
Quick search: Orthetrum - Cancellatum - Black - Skimmer - Dragonfly - Male
Insect - Wings - Female - Head - Front - View - Tips - Abdomen
Sources, links and more informations
Black-tailed Skimmer in Wikipedia
Orthetrum in species.wikimedia
Taxonomy
ClassInsecta
Insects, True insects
SubclassPterygota
Winged insects
InfraclassPalaeoptera
Ancient winged insects
SuperorderOdonatoptera
OrderOdonata
Dragonflies, Damselflies, Demoiselles, Dragonflies and Damselflies
SuborderEpiprocta
InfraorderAnisoptera
Dragonflies
SuperfamilyLibelluloidea
FamilyLibellulidae
Skimmers, Perchers, Common skimmers, Chasers, Skimmers and Darters
SubfamilyLibellulinae
GenusOrthetrum
Speciescancellatum
Orthetrum cancellatum
Black-Tailed Skimmer, Black-lined skimmer
AuthorLinnaeus, 1758
 
Synonyms
Libellula brunnea
Libellula cancellata
Orthetrum frumenti
Orthetrum guptai
Orthetrum helveticum
Orthetrum lineolatum
 
Subspecies
Orthetrum cancellatum cancellatum
Orthetrum cancellatum kraepelini
Orthetrum cancellatum orientale
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