Dragonflies of the genus Libellula are known as King Skimmers and are the dominant dragonflies at most ponds (Dunkle 2000).
The Golden-winged Skimmer is known to occur in three locations in Suffolk County and one location in Orange County. Population estimates have not been determined. Further survey efforts may result in the identification of additional populations or range expansions and may enable population sizes to be determined.
No estimate of population size has been made for the Golden-winged Skimmer based on observations from 1995 to present (New York Natural Heritage Program 2007). Information prior to this time frame is limited. Therefore, any new location information on the Golden-winged Skimmer in New York may reflect heightened interest in surveying for this species rather than a population increase or a range expansion (Holst 2005).
Four recent observations of Golden-winged Skimmers have been made in Suffolk and Orange Counties since 1995 and one provisional record exists from 1937 in Cattaragus County (Donnelly 1999, New York Natural Heritage Program 2007). Since there is limited historical information, few recent records, and the full extent and size of the populations have not been determined, long-term trends are unclear.
Any activity which might lead to water contamination or the alteration of natural hydrology could impact Golden-winged Skimmer populations. As this species is known to occur in coastal plain ponds on Long Island, such threats might include "ditching, filling, eutrophication and changes in dissolved oxygen content, direct effects of pesticides (e.g. for mosquito control or from agricultural runoff), and other chemical contamination from runoff or discharge of agricultural, industrial, or urban effluent" (Holst 2005).
Any measures to reduce water contamination or hydrological alteration such as chemical contamination from agricultural run-off should be considered when managing for this species (Holst 2005).
Further research is required to understand the habitat requirements and threats to this species, and to create appropriate management guidelines for its persistence in known locations (Holst 2005).
Golden-winged Skimmers inhabit coastal plain ponds on Long Island (Dunkle 2000, Nikula et al. 2003, New York Natural Heritage Program, 2007). Larvae are aquatic and found in the water during this lifestage, whereas adults are terrestrial and are found in habitats surrounding ponds.
The Golden-winged Skimmer has been confirmed from Orange and Suffolk counties. There is a provisional observation of this species in Cattaraugus County as well, as the specimen had no specific associated data and was very teneral or freshly emerged (Donnelly 1999, New York Natural Heritage Program, 2007).
The Golden-winged Skimmer is distributed across the northeastern United States south to Florida and west to Texas and into Mexico. It has a total known range from Alabama, Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and West Virginia (Abbott 2007).
Adult Golden-winged Skimmers are about 2.0 inches long with reddish-brown eyes. Adult males have an orange-brown face and thorax and a bright orange abdomen with a black dorsal (top) stripe. Their wing veins become orange from the front to the rear of the wing and the stigma (a blood-filled blister near the tip of the wing) is red. Females and immature males have a brown face and thorax. They have two pale stripes on the sides of the thorax and a broad white mid-dorsal stripe on the thorax as well. They have a yellow abdomen with a black dorsal stripe and yellow tinged wings with yellow stigmas (Dunkle 2000, Nikula et al. 2003).
Female Golden-winged Skimmers oviposit (lay eggs) by tapping the tips of their abdomens onto the surface of the water while simultaneously releasing eggs (Nikula et al. 2003). Adults of both sexes forage in open fields. Males perch on the tops of plant stems in foraging fields, while females generally perch half-way down the stems (Dunkle 2000). Males are territorial and will defend areas along pond shores or over open water (Nikula et al. 2003).
Golden-winged Skimmer larvae feed on smaller aquatic invertebrates and adults feed on insects which they capture in flight.
Adult Golden-winged Skimmers have been found in New York from June through mid July, but could possibly be seen into early September (Nikula et al. 2003, New York Natural Heritage Program, 2007).
The time of year you would expect to find Golden-winged Skimmer present and reproducing in New York.
Libellula auripennis Burmeister, 1839
Abbott, J.C. 2007. OdonataCentral: An online resource for the odonata of North America. Austin, Texas. Available at http://odonatacentral.com (accessed February 28, 2007).
Donnelly, T. W. 1992. The odonata of New York State. Bulletin of American Odonatology. 1(1):1-27.
Donnelly, T.W. 1999. The dragonflies and damselflies of New York. Prepared for the 1999 International Congress of Odonatology and First Symposium of the Worldwide Dragonfly Association. July 11-16, 1999. Colgate University, Hamilton, New York. 39 pp.
Donnelly, T.W. 2004. The Odonata of New York State. Unpublished data. Binghamton, NY.
Dunkle, S.W. 2000. Dragonflies through binoculars: A field guide to dragonflies of North America. Oxford University Press: 266 pp.
Mead, K. 2003. Dragonflies of the North Woods. Kollath-Stensaas Publishing, Duluth, MN. 2003 pp.
Needham, J.G., M.J. Westfall, Jr., and M.L. May. 2000. Dragonflies of North America. Revised edition. Scientific Publishers, Gainesville, Florida. 939 pp.
New York Natural Heritage Program. 2007. Biotics Database. Albany, NY.
New York Natural Heritage Program. 2023. New York Natural Heritage Program Databases. Albany, NY.
New York Natural Heritage Program. No date. New York dragonfly and damselfly survey database. New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. Albany, NY.
New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. 2005. Comprehensive Wildlife Conservation Strategy Planning Database. New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. Albany, NY.
Nikula, B., J.L. Loose, and M.R. Burne. 2003. A field guide to the dragonflies and damselflies of Massachusetts. Division of Fisheries and Wildlife, Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program, Westborough, MA. 197 pp.
Information for this guide was last updated on: December 5, 2007
Please cite this page as:
New York Natural Heritage Program. 2023. Online Conservation Guide for Libellula auripennis. Available from: https://guides.nynhp.org/golden-winged-skimmer/. Accessed March 23, 2023.