Western Odonata Scans in Life

Images added 8 June 2004; text revised January 2007

These dragonflies are being scanned as they are collected, beginning 1997. An attempt is being made to acquire representatives of all Northwest species and their individual variation (primarily sex and age). All images are scanned on a Hewlett Packard ScanJet 4C/T with DeskScan II into Adobe PhotoShop 3.0 (upgraded to 5.5 in 2000) and saved as JPEG images at 300 dpi. Larger dragonflies are usually at 200-250%, damselflies at 400-500%, but there is much variation. All photographs copyrighted by Dennis Paulson, except those scanned by Kathy Biggs copyrighted by her.

I greatly appreciate the folks at the web site Digital Dragonflies for stimulating this project and for furnishing the technical advice on how to make it work. That site has abundant and beautiful scanned images of Odonata from central Texas.

Scanner's nightmare


Calopteryx aequabilis, River Jewelwing


Archilestes californicus, California Spreadwing

Archilestes grandis, Great Spreadwing

Lestes congener, Spotted Spreadwing

Lestes disjunctus, Northern Spreadwing

Lestes dryas, Emerald Spreadwing

Lestes forcipatus, Sweetflag Spreadwing

Lestes stultus, Black Spreadwing

Lestes unguiculatus, Lyre-tipped Spreadwing

The four common spreadwings (Lestes) in the Pacific Northwest


Amphiagrion abbreviatum, Western Red Damsel

Argia alberta, Paiute Dancer

Argia emma, Emma's Dancer

Argia fumipennis, Variable Dancer

Argia lugens, Sooty Dancer

Argia vivida, Vivid Dancer

Coenagrion interrogatum, Subarctic Bluet

Coenagrion resolutum, Taiga Bluet

Enallagma anna, River Bluet

Enallagma annexum, Northern Bluet

Enallagma boreale, Boreal Bluet

Enallagma carunculatum, Tule Bluet

Enallagma clausum, Alkali Bluet

Enallagma hageni, Hagen's Bluet

Ischnura cervula, Pacific Forktail

Ischnura damula, Plains Forktail

Ischnura denticollis, Black-fronted Forktail

Ischnura erratica, Swift Forktail

Ischnura gemina, San Francisco Forktail

Ischnura perparva, Western Forktail

Ischnura verticalis, Eastern Forktail

Nehalennia irene, Sedge Sprite

Telebasis salva, Desert Firetail

Zoniagrion exclamationis, Exclamation Damsel


Tanypteryx hageni, Black Petaltail


Aeshna canadensis, Canada Darner

Aeshna constricta, Lance-tipped Darner

Aeshna eremita, Lake Darner

Aeshna interrupta, Variable Darner

Aeshna juncea, Sedge Darner

Aeshna palmata, Paddle-tailed Darner

Aeshna septentrionalis, Azure Darner

Aeshna sitchensis, Zigzag Darner

Aeshna subarctica, Subarctic Darner

Aeshna tuberculifera, Black-tipped Darner

Aeshna umbrosa, Shadow Darner

Aeshna walkeri, Walker's Darner

Anax junius, Common Green Darner

Anax walsinghami, Giant Darner

Rhionaeschna californica, California Darner

Rhionaeschna multicolor, Blue-eyed Darner


Arigomphus cornutus, Horned Clubtail

Erpetogomphus compositus, White-belted Ringtail

Gomphus graslinellus, Pronghorn Clubtail

Gomphus kurilis, Pacific Clubtail

Gomphus lynnae, Columbia Clubtail

Octogomphus specularis, Grappletail

Ophiogomphus morrisoni, Great Basin Snaketail

Ophiogomphus occidentis, Sinuous Snaketail

Ophiogomphus severus, Pale Snaketail

Stylurus olivaceus, Olive Clubtail


Cordulegaster dorsalis, Pacific Spiketail


Macromia magnifica, Western River Cruiser


Cordulia shurtleffii, American Emerald

Epitheca canis, Beaverpond Baskettail

Epitheca spinigera, Spiny Baskettail

Somatochlora albicincta, Ringed Emerald

Somatochlora cingulata, Lake Emerald

Somatochlora franklini, Delicate Emerald

Somatochlora minor, Ocellated Emerald

Somatochlora semicircularis, Mountain Emerald

Somatochlora septentrionalis, Muskeg Emerald

Somatochlora walshii, Brush-tipped Emerald

Somatochlora whitehousei, Whitehouse's Emerald


Erythemis collocata, Western Pondhawk

Ladona julia, Chalk-fronted Corporal

Leucorrhinia glacialis, Crimson-ringed Whiteface

Leucorrhinia hudsonica, Hudsonian Whiteface

Leucorrhinia intacta, Dot-tailed Whiteface

Leucorrhinia proxima, Belted Whiteface

Libellula comanche, Comanche Skimmer

Libellula composita, Bleached Skimmer

Libellula forensis, Eight-spotted Skimmer

Notice the geographic variation shown here. Western Washington (King County) individuals of this species are much less heavily marked with pruinosity than those from east of the Cascades (Yakima and Kittitas counties). Note the eggs under the abdomen tip of the King County female.

Comparison between Libellula forensis and Libellula pulchella

Libellula luctuosa, Widow Skimmer

Libellula nodisticta, Hoary Skimmer

Libellula pulchella, Twelve-spotted Skimmer

Libellula quadrimaculata, Four-spotted Skimmer

Pachydiplax longipennis, Blue Dasher

Pantala hymenaea, Spot-winged Glider

Plathemis lydia, Common Whitetail

Plathemis subornata, Desert Whitetail

Sympetrum corruptum, Variegated Meadowhawk

Sympetrum costiferum, Saffron-winged Meadowhawk

Sympetrum danae, Black Meadowhawk

Sympetrum illotum, Cardinal Meadowhawk

Sympetrum internum, Cherry-faced Meadowhawk

Sympetrum madidum, Red-veined Meadowhawk

Sympetrum obtrusum, White-faced Meadowhawk

Sympetrum occidentale, Western Meadowhawk

Two subspecies are illustrated here. The first male and female are S. o. occidentale from Washington, while the second male, with more vivid wing markings, is S. o. fasciatum from Nebraska.

Sympetrum pallipes, Striped Meadowhawk

Notice the geographic variation shown here. Individuals of this species from wetter, cooler regions (Kittitas County) are more heavily marked with black than those from east of the Cascades (Okanogan and Douglas counties).

Sympetrum rubicundulum, Ruby Meadowhawk

These individuals, with conspicuous wing markings, are typical of those from the western part of the range. In the East, the wings are clear.

Sympetrum vicinum, Autumn Meadowhawk

Tramea lacerata, Black Saddlebags