Purple Skimmer, Libellula jesseana

The purple skimmer (Libellula jesseana) is a species of dragonfly that is native only to the state of Florida in the United States, where it can be found in ten counties. It prefers a habitat near clear, sandy ponds and lakes with sparse vegetation, although most areas where it is found hold Panicum hemitomon or Hypericum along the shoreline. This species is typically seen between the months of April and September.

The purple skimmer reaches an average body length of about two inches, with individuals varying in color depending upon the age and sex. Adult males are pale blue to dark blue in color with black occurring along the hind appendages and face, while females are yellow color, making them hard to distinguish from the golden-winged skimmer. Although its name suggests it is purple in color, only a few individuals typically hold this color.

The total population numbers of the purple skimmer are unknown, but they are thought to be small. It is threatened by habitat loss due to destruction, pollution, and eutrophication. One population occurs in Gold Head Branch State Park, but it is thought that most other populations do not occur in protected areas. Research regarding its habitat, threats, current population trends, and life cycle are recommended. The purple skimmer appears on the IUCN Red List with a conservation status of “Vulnerable.”

Image Caption: female Libellula jesseana. Credit: pondhawk/Wikipedia (CC BY 2.0)