Black Saddlebags, Tramea lacerate

The black saddlebags (Tramea lacerate) is a species of skimmer dragonfly that can be found in North America. It prefers to reside near still water sources like ponds and ditches. This species reaches an average body length of 1.9 inches and holds a thin body that is black in color, although females may hold light mottled markings along the body. The head on both males and females is wide and brown in color. The dark markings that occur on base of the hind wings have given it the common name, saddlebags.

The black saddlebags will gather in swarms, typically containing large numbers of males, and can sometimes be seen migrating. After breeding, females will lay their eggs in water. These eggs hatch into larvae that feed on other aquatic larvae, such as the larvae of mosquitoes. Adults also consume mosquitoes, as well as other soft-bodied insects, which is helpful in areas that hold infestations.

Image Caption: Black Saddlebags, Tramea lacerata, Rattlesnake Springs, Carlsbad Caverns NP, New Mexico. Credit: JerryFriedman/Wikipedia (CC BY-SA 3.0)