Twelve-Spotted Skimmer

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Male twelve-spotted skimmer perched on a plant stalk
Scientific Name
Libellula pulchella
Family
Libellulidae (skimmers) in the order Odonata (dragonflies and damselflies)
Description

The twelve-spotted skimmer has twelve dark brown wing spots. Males have eight additional spots that are white. Females lack the white spots.

Young males that have recently emerged as adults resemble females, with brown bodies with a yellow stripe along each side of the abdomen. As the males mature, a whitish (pruinose) coating develops on their bodies that can be rubbed off. As the male ages, the white coating may begin to look bluish.

An older name for this dragonfly was the ten-spot skimmer. Apparently, people were counting the middle spots, closest to the body, as a single spot that stretches across from wing to wing, yielding five spots for the front pair of wings and five for the hindwings.

Learn more about this and other dragonflies on their group page.

Common Name Synonyms
Ten-Spot Dragonfly
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About Land Invertebrates in Missouri
Invertebrates are animals without backbones, including earthworms, slugs, snails, and arthropods. Arthropods—invertebrates with “jointed legs” — are a group of invertebrates that includes crayfish, shrimp, millipedes, centipedes, mites, spiders, and insects. There may be as many as 10 million species of insects alive on earth today, and they probably constitute more than 90 percent all animal species.