Keeled Skimmer, Orthetrum coerulescens

The keeled skimmer (Orthetrum coerulescens) is a species of dragonfly that can be found in Europe. Its range includes Afghanistan, Algeria, Austria, Denmark, France, Greece, Iran, Italy, Macedonia, the Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Spain, Turkey, and the United Kingdom. It can be found in boggy areas in the northern areas of its range, while it prefers running water sources, like ditches and streams, in other areas of its range.

The keeled skimmer holds a thinner body than that of the black-tailed skimmer, which it resembles, and varies in color depending upon the sex. Males hold black markings along the abdomen, which females and young individuals do not hold, and both males and females typically hold pale stripes on the thorax. It has a weak flight pattern and can be seen hovering or landing often. Despite this, it often flies a significant distance from water sources.

The total population size and trend of the keeled skimmer is unknown, but it has been reported as a common species that has increased its range over the past twenty years. It is threatened by increasing agricultural practices and water pollution caused by these practices. More research and habitat preservation have been suggested to conserve this species. The keeled skimmer appears on the IUCN Red List with a conservation status of “Least Concern.”

Image Caption: Male Orthetrum coerulescens, Gradignan, Gironde, France. Credit: Jean-Jacques MILAN/Wikipedia  (CC BY-SA 3.0)