Dragon hunting: Southern Skimmer

The Southern Skimmer is another southern species that has moved the northern boundary of its distribution further north in recent years. It’s a beautiful bright blue species that was remarkably easy to recognise in between the many Keeled Skimmers that were also present on the same location. Where I was afraid it would be tricky to separate the two, as I had only a little experience with the Keeled Skimmer, I picked them out easily. It helped a lot that almost all dragonflies present where males, and the blue thorax and white face made it easy.

Southern Skimmer – Zuidelijke Oeverlibel – Orthetrum brunneum

Southern Skimmers have a preference for small streams fed with groundwater in the early stages of succession. In this case, it was an area with a shallow pond next to the source of a small stream in a small marsh/heath area. Where the source was carefully fenced off and declared off-limits, this area was open to everybody. As the weather was nice, there were several kids playing, building dams or running around in the water. This didn’t seem to bother the dragonflies one single bit as they continued sunbathing, chasing away other males or trying to seduce the few females present.

Southern Skimmer habitat

Arjen Drost

Arjen is a Polar ecologist, nature photographer and full time expedition guide on expedition cruise ships in both Polar regions. With his pictures and stories he likes to show the beauty of these very fragile and threatened places.

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