Orthemis Species Images

This page displays photos of Orthemis from the New World Tropics. Orthemis is a difficult genus of Libellulidae in which several species have long been confused with the first-named species O. ferruginea. Recent study has shown that what was thought to be a very widespread species is actually at least 5 species, as follows.

  • O. discolor Burmeister, 1839 (Texas to Argentina)
  • O. ferruginea Fabricius, 1775 (southern USA to Costa Rica)
  • O. macrostigma Rambur, 1842 (Lesser Antilles); probably more than one species
  • O. schmidti Buchholz, 1950 (Guatemala to Peru and Brazil)
  • O. sulphurata Hagen, 1868 (western Ecuador)
  • O. "Antillean" (West Indies, sparingly on mainland adjacent to Caribbean; probably more than one species)

O. aequilibris Calvert, 1909 (Costa Rica through Brazil to Paraguay) and O. nodiplaga Karsch, 1891 (southern Brazil and surrounding countries) appear to be part of this group, although they have long been recognized as distinct. The situation is made more confusing because O. aequilibris is thought to occur in two morphs, a red one and a pruinose blue one. Much remains to be done with this group.

The life coloration of these species has not been well documented, and questions still remain about identification and species limits, so this site has been set up to publish photos from life, including many freshly collected specimens in the hand. I also include photos of other Orthemis species that have been recognized as distinct for some time, as some of them seem to be in this same group of large, robust species. I encourage all with such photos to send the photos or scans thereof to me for publication here.

Apologies for the washed-out nature of some of the images. When the slides were a bit too dark to register well on the scanner, I had to brighten them greatly in Photoshop, thus the washed-out effect, not the fault of the photographer.

(Click on the links below to see images)