This Morning Outside
by Diane Porter
July 21, 2010
I found several male Widow Skimmer dragonflies chasing each other around over our pond. This one kindly returned again and again to the same stem, allowing me to get a good look. He always landed at a tilt to the stem, like this.
The female is actually more colorful, with gold stripes on her abdomen. You can see her here. But the male is flashier in flight because of the white patches on his wings.
The name comes from the dark patches at the base of the wings. It's supposed to resemble the mourning clothes of a bereaved woman. I don't know about that. To me "widow skimmer" always sounds like baby talk for "little skimmer," so it seems like a term of endearment.
A male Widow Skimmer is on the cover of the dragonfly field guide, which you can see at upper right on this page.