Name: Black-tailed Skimmer
Scientific name: Orthetrum cancellatum
Nature Stars: 50
About: A medium-sized, straight-sided, fairly narrow bodied dragonfly, up to 6.5cm long. The male has a powder blue body with yellow spots along the sides and a black tip, and greyish thorax. The female is yellowy brown with two black stripes running the length of the body. On the wing from the end of May to August. This is a common dragonfly of gravel pits and reservoirs, where it flys low over the water before landing on the bare shore.
How to identify: There are several medium sized, pale blue dragonflies that can be confused. This species can be told the combination of a narrow body, black tip to the body and yellow spots along the side. Its behaviour, flying low over bare gravel and mud, is also characteristic.
Where: Southern and central England and south Wales.
Fantastic fact: Black-tailed Skimmers breed in very large numbers in new gravel pits, and are a favourite food of the Hobby.
Photograph credit: Photo credit tbc