ODONATA OF WASHINGTON
Dennis R. Paulson
Slater Museum of Natural History,
University of Puget Sound
Tacoma, WA 98416
Revised 20 October 2022
- Calopteryx aequabilis (River Jewelwing). Locally common in lowlands to 2200', mostly S part of state; much more common E. Small rivers and slow streams. 7 May-3 Sep known flight season.
- Archilestes californicus (California Spreadwing). Locally common in E lowlands (700-1900') north to Okanogan County and W lowlands north to Snohomish County. Slow streams and ponds bordered by willows. 25 Jun-10 Nov.
- Lestes congener (Spotted Spreadwing). Common throughout lowlands and to 5800' in mountains. Ponds and lakes, often larger water bodies than inhabited by others of its genus. The last damselfly species to fly in autumn. 30 May-1 Dec.
- Lestes disjunctus (Northern Spreadwing). Common throughout lowlands and to 5800' in mountains. Ponds and lakes. 23 Jun-21 Oct.
- Lestes dryas (Emerald Spreadwing). Locally distributed throughout lowlands but more common in mountains, to 5800'. Ponds, often temporary, with dense marsh vegetation. 14 May-29 Sep.
- Lestes forcipatus (Sweetflag Spreadwing). Widespread but local, known from Chelan to Pend Oreille counties, at 1800-4650', South Prairie in Skamania County at 3500', and a few localities in the western lowlands. Marshy ponds and lakes. 12 Jul-24 Sep.
- Lestes unguiculatus (Lyre-tipped Spreadwing). Common in E lowlands, rarely in mountains to 6500', local W. Ponds, often temporary, with dense marsh vegetation; much affected by drought. 25 May-14 Sep.
Coenagrionidae (pond damsels)
- Amphiagrion abbreviatum (Western Red Damsel). Locally common, usually in small numbers throughout lowlands and to 4400' in mountains. Marshy ponds, sloughs and edge of slow streams, typically in dense sedges. 27 Apr-22 Sep.
- Argia emma (Emma's Dancer). Common in E lowlands to 2200', also in tributaries of Columbia River in Clark County, and local on a few additional westside rivers. Rivers and streams, with or without rocks. 14 May-22 Sep.
- Argia vivida (Vivid Dancer). Common throughout E lowlands (700-2100'; once at 4400'); also few localities on W slope of Cascades (2700-4600'). Springs, seeps, and streams, typically smaller and with more vegetation than those preferred by A. emma. 17 Mar-22 Oct.
- Coenagrion interrogatum (Subarctic Bluet). ). Known only from Davis Lake, Ferry County (4550'), and Bunchgrass Meadows, Pend Oreille County (5000'). Dense sedge and moss mats in lakes and fens. 3-29 Jul.
- Coenagrion resolutum (Taiga Bluet). Cascades and NE Highlands (2000-5700'). Dense sedge marshes. 10 May-12 Sep.
- Enallagma annexum (Northern Bluet). Common throughout lowlands, except center of Columbia Basin, and in mountains to 4550'. Less common than E. boreale east of the Cascades and more common in W lowlands, at times superabundant. Ponds, lakes, and slow streams. 5 May-2 Nov.
- Enallagma boreale (Boreal Bluet). Common from alkaline ponds in Columbia Basin steppe to boreal lakes in mountains to 5800'; much less common around Blue Mountains and in W lowlands. Ponds and lakes, usually with marsh vegetation. The most abundant odonate in some parts of state, emerging in vast numbers from eutrophic ponds in Columbia Basin. Found with E. annexum at many localities, but only one species occurs at many others. Apparently lacking from the slow streams where annexum is common. 11 Apr-22 Oct.
- Enallagma carunculatum (Tule Bluet). Common throughout lowlands to 2300'. Ponds and lakes, usually with marsh vegetation; often abundant at large lakes with beds of cattails and tules, habitats shunned by E. annexum and E. boreale. 17 Apr-18 Nov.
- Enallagma clausum (Alkali Bluet). Very local in Columbia Basin. Mostly limited to alkaline ponds and lakes, also occurs locally on Columbia River west to Skamania County and possibly along its entire length. Especially abundant at Soap Lake and Lake Lenore, Grant County (1000'). 15 May-19 Oct.
- Enallagma ebrium (Marsh Bluet). Locally common in lowlands and mountains (1100-3400') in N tier of counties E of Cascades. Ponds, typically with E. annexum and E. boreale. 20 Jun-28 Sep.
- Ischnura cervula (Pacific Forktail). Common throughout lowlands and in mountains to 5800'; most ubiquitous odonate in state. Marshy edges of lakes, ponds and slow streams, only species typically found in middle of dense cattail and bulrush beds. Easily established in small urban ponds. First odonate to appear in spring. 20 Mar-8 Nov.
- Ischnura erratica(Swift Forktail). Locally common in W lowlands, also local on E side of Cascades to 3700'. Ponds, especially beaver ponds. Primarily a spring species, with very few records after July. 4 Apr-15 Sep.
- Ischnura perparva (Western Forktail). Common throughout lowlands and in mountains to 5800', usually less so than I. cervula. Marshy edge of lakes, ponds and slow streams, much more common in latter than cervula. 14 Apr-26 Oct.
- Nehalennia irene (Sedge Sprite). Cascades and NE Highlands (2000-4550'), also one record W, at Langendorfer Lake, King County (600'). Dense sedge marshes. 17 Jun-20 Sep.
- Tanypteryx hageni (Black Petaltail). Olympic and Cascades mountains (2500-5200'). Seeps on hillsides, larvae in burrows. 15 Jun-19 Sep.
- Aeshna canadensis (Canada Darner). Local throughout lowlands of N half of state and to 4300' in mountains. Ponds and lakes. 18 Jul-13 Oct.
- Aeshna constricta (Lance-tipped Darner). Locally common in E lowlands (1000-2200'), also records from Thurston and Clark counties. Ponds, including temporary ones smaller than those frequented by other Aeshna; much affected by droughts. 9 Jul-28 Sep.
- Aeshna eremita (Lake Darner). Local throughout lowlands of N half of state and to 4200' in mountains. Lakes. 8 Jul-13 Oct.
- Aeshna interrupta (Variable Darner). Common throughout E lowlands, locally common in W lowlands and to 6000' in mountains. Ponds and lakes, also common away from water. W of Cascades, most specimens have interrupted lateral thoracic stripes; E of Cascades, most have narrow, continuous stripes. 3 Jul-26 Oct.
- Aeshna juncea (Sedge Darner). Cascades and mountains to E (2200-5800'). Ponds and small lakes. 12 Jul-8 Oct.
- Aeshna palmata (Paddle-tailed Darner). Common throughout lowlands and to 5800' in mountains. Ponds and lakes, also common away from water. 16 Jun-10 Nov.
- Aeshna sitchensis (Zigzag Darner). Known from NE Washington at higher elevations (5000-6000'), also Fish Lake, Chelan County (1850'), and South Prairie, Skamania County (3500'). Sedge meadows (fens). 4 Jul-11 Sep.
- Aeshna subarctica (Subarctic Darner). Known from scattered localities in Ferry, Stevens, Pend Oreille and Skamania counties (4320-5000') and Fish Lake, Chelan County (1850'). Sedge/moss fens and bogs. 5 Aug-25 Sep.
- Aeshna tuberculifera (Black-tipped Darner). Known from scattered localities in W lowlands, NE corner, and Cascades (up to 5000'). Ponds and lakes, typically associated with bog conditions. 22 Jul-5 Oct.
- Aeshna umbrosa (Shadow Darner). Common throughout lowlands and to 5700' in mountains. Ponds, lakes and slow streams. Along with Sympetrum vicinum, last anisopteran of autumn. 17 Jun-21 Nov.
- Aeshna walkeri (Walker's Darner). Resident on Major Creek in southern Klickitat County. Small streams. 8 Aug-5 Oct.
- Anax junius (Common Green Darner). Fairly common throughout lowlands and to 3500' in mountains. Ponds, lakes and slow streams. At least some populations appear to follow seasonal strategy described from eastern North America, with spring immigrants from the south and fall emigration of their offspring back to the south. 20 Apr-1 Nov (also freshly dead on 10 Dec).
- Rhionaeschna californica (California Darner). Common throughout lowlands and to 5800' in mountains. Ponds and lakes. Typically first dragonfly to fly in spring. 31 Mar-4 Sep.
- Rhionaeschna multicolor (Blue-eyed Darner). Common throughout lowlands and to 4200' in mountains. Ponds and lakes, also common away from water, including over city parking lots. 3 May-10 Nov.
- Erpetogomphus compositus (White-belted Ringtail). Local in S part of Columbia Basin (1000'); known from Crab Creek, Grant County, the Yakima River, Benton County, and the Walla Walla River, Walla Walla County. Sandy streams and rivers. 27 Jun-4 Sep.
- Gomphurus lynnae (Columbia Clubtail). Fairly common at the Yakima River Horn, north of Benton City, Benton County (1000'); on Lower Crab Creek east of Beverly, Grant Co. (500'); and on the Walla Walla River, Walla Walla County. Open sandy and muddy streams and rivers with gravelly rapids. 2 Jun-18 Aug.
- Octogomphus specularis (Grappletail). Locally distributed in W lowlands and up Columbia River to Rock Creek, Klickitat County (1100'), known from few localities but surely more widespread. Wooded streams and small rivers. 22 May-20 Aug.
- Ophiogomphus occidentis (Sinuous Snaketail). Throughout E lowlands and to 5200' in mountains but known in W lowlands only from Chehalis River drainage, Thurston and Grays Harbor counties. Streams and rivers. 24 May-28 Aug.
- Ophiogomphus severus (Pale Snaketail). Throughout E lowlands and to 3300' in mountains, more local but also widespread in W lowlands. Streams and rivers. 8 Jun-24 Aug.
- Phanogomphus graslinellus (Pronghorn Clubtail). Known from NE corner (2200-3300') and Toppenish Creek (750'), Yakima County. Streams and lakes. 14 May-8 Jul.
- Phanogomphus kurilis (Pacific Clubtail). Known recently from Black Lake, Thurston County, and Bass and Ice House lakes, Skamania County, but historical records from Seattle area. So far found only at lakes in this state, stream inhabitant farther south. 1 May-12 Aug.
- Stylurus olivaceus (Olive Clubtail). Columbia Basin (1000-2500') and lower Columbia River and its larger tributaries in Wahkiakum, Clark, and Cowlitz counties. Recorded north to Chelan County but presumably north of that into British Columbia. Sandy streams and rivers. 25 Jun-8 Nov.
- Cordulegaster dorsalis (Pacific Spiketail). Local and mostly uncommon in W lowlands to 2000', also from SE slope of Cascades, NE corner in Pend Oreille County, and Grande Ronde River drainage below Blue Mountains in Asotin County; probably more widespread. Small streams. 15 Jun-29 Aug.
Macromiidae (river cruisers)
- Macromia magnifica(Western River Cruiser). Locally common throughout E lowlands (1000-2300') but probably declining. Sandy streams and rivers. Darker individuals, previously called Macromia rickeri, are common at Cultus Lake, British Columbia, and may occur in W Washington; an old report from Seattle not yet confirmed. 19 Jun-28 Aug.
- Cordulia shurtleffii (American Emerald). Locally common throughout wooded lowlands and to 5800' in mountains; absent from Columbia Basin and not known from Blue Mountains. Ponds and lakes. 24 Apr-12 Sep.
- Epitheca canis (Beaverpond Baskettail). Few known sites in W lowlands. Larvae in ponds in stream drainages, males seen in patrol flight over long pools in slow-flowing Black River, Thurston County. 28 Apr-21 Jul.
- Epitheca spinigera (Spiny Baskettail). Locally common in forested lowlands, local in Columbia Basin, and to 4200' in mountains. Ponds and lakes, mostly seen away from water. 21 Apr-29 Aug.
- Somatochlora albicincta (Ringed Emerald). Olympic, Cascades, and NE mountains (2200-6000'); single lowland (700') locality W, at Cedar Ponds Lake, Snohomish County. Ponds and lakes, males more commonly over open water than other Somatochlora. 18 Jul-15 Oct.
- Somatochlora franklini (Delicate Emerald). Known only from Bunchgrass Meadows (5000'), Pend Oreille County. Sedge fen. 30 Jul-16 Sep.
- Somatochlora minor (Ocellated Emerald). NE Highlands (3300-5000') also one locality W, on Stossel Creek, King County (600'). Small slow-flowing streams through sedge meadows, in or away from forest. 8 Jul-31 Aug.
- Somatochlora semicircularis (Mountain Emerald). Throughout mountains (1700-5800') except Blue Mountains; very local in W lowlands. Bogs and fens. 29 May-15 Oct.
- Somatochlora walshii (Brush-tipped Emerald). Local in NE Highlands and Cascades (2500-3500'), one locality W, on Langendorfer Lake, King County (600'). Sedge meadows, typically with small streams flowing through them. 8 Jul-16 Sep.
- Somatochlora whitehousei (Whitehouse's Emerald). Known only from Bunchgrass Meadows (5000'), Pend Oreille County. Patterned sedge fen. 4 Jul-22 Aug.
- Erythemis collocata (Western Pondhawk). Common in E lowlands to 2200', more local but widespread W. Ponds and marshy lake borders. 2 May-12 Oct.
- Ladona julia Chalk-fronted Corporal). Locally common throughout wooded lowlands N and W and to 3400' in mountains. Lakes, ponds, and bogs. 14 May-27 Aug.
- Leucorrhinia borealis (Boreal Whiteface). Known from only near Molson, Okanogan County. Marshy ponds, all of which dried up during 2002-03 drought; not seen subsequently. 14 Jun-14 Jul.
- Leucorrhinia glacialis (Crimson-ringed Whiteface). Locally common in Cascades and NE Highlands up to 5800' and three lowland (300-1100') records W, at Langendorfer Lake, King County, Howell Lake, Mason County, and Packwood, Lewis County. Ponds and lake borders with dense emergent vegetation. 3 Jun-25 Aug.
- Leucorrhinia hudsonica (Hudsonian Whiteface). Locally common in wooded lowlands and to 6600' in mountains. Ponds and bogs with dense emergent vegetation. 21 Apr-8 Oct.
- Leucorrhinia intacta (Dot-tailed Whiteface). Common throughout lowlands and to 4200' in mountains; not known from Blue Mountains. Ponds and lake edges. 21 Apr-6 Sep.
- Leucorrhinia proxima (Belted Whiteface). NE corner (2200-5800') and one locality W, at Langendorfer Lake, King County (600'). Ponds and lake borders with abundant emergent vegetation. 14 Jun-9 Sep.
- Libellula forensis (Eight-spotted Skimmer). Common throughout lowlands to 3300'. Ponds and lakes of most kinds. 28 Apr-6 Oct.
- Libellula luctuosa (Widow Skimmer). Local and uncommon in Cowlitz, Clark, and Skamania counties, probably relatively new arrival from Willamette Valley of Oregon; single records from King, Pierce, Thurston, Lewis, Klickitat, Benton, and Whitman counties. Lakes. 4 Jun-11 Oct.
- Libellula pulchella (Twelve-spotted Skimmer). Common throughout E lowlands and to 4300' in mountains; few records W but may not be established populations. Ponds and lakes. 6 May-5 Nov.
- Libellula quadrimaculata (Four-spotted Skimmer). Common throughout lowlands and to 4200' in mountains. Ponds and lakes, typically with abundant emergent vegetation. 16 Apr-29 Sep.
- Libellula saturata (Flame Skimmer). Small populations in Clark, Cowlitz and Lewis counties, may be more widespread as also found at Jackson Lake, Pierce Co. 23 Jun-17 Oct.
- Pachydiplax longipennis (Blue Dasher). Locally common in lowlands to 2200', more common in S part of state but increasing northward. Ponds and lakes with abundant emergent vegetation. 22 May-13 Oct.
- Pantala flavescens (Wandering Glider). Vagrant, with records from Clark (several), Pierce, King and Grant counties. Usually seen away from water; breeds in rain ponds farther south. 21 Jun-15 Aug.
- Pantala hymenaea (Spot-winged Glider). Scattered widespread records. Has bred in Grant and Benton counties in the Columbia Basin (1000'); numerous coastal records in fall. Ponds and slow streams, more likely seen away from water. 20 May-12 Sep.
- Plathemis lydia (Common Whitetail). Common throughout lowlands and to 3400' in mountains. Lakes and ponds. 25 Apr-2 Oct.
- Sympetrum corruptum (Variegated Meadowhawk). Common throughout lowlands (to 2200'). Breeds at open ponds and lakes, typically rather eutrophic ones. May be seen anywhere, especially along coast but also to 7200' in mountains, during infrequently observed migratory movements in August and September. 10 Apr-15 Dec.
- Sympetrum costiferum (Saffron-winged Meadowhawk). Common throughout lowlands and to 5800' in mountains. Open ponds and lakes. 21 Jun-10 Nov.
- Sympetrum danae (Black Meadowhawk). Locally common in E lowlands and to 5800' in mountains, including W slope of Cascades; vagrant in W lowlands. Ponds and lakes with emergent vegetation. 11 Jul-26 Oct.
- Sympetrum illotum (Cardinal Meadowhawk). Common throughout W lowlands and local on S edge of state on E side of Cascades and to 2300' on lower slopes of Blue Mountains. Ponds and lakes. 18 Apr-10 Nov.
- Sympetrum internum (Cherry-faced Meadowhawk). Locally common in E lowlands and sparingly higher (1000-5800'); also local W. Ponds and lakes, often seasonal ones, with associated meadows. 4 Jul-5 Oct.
- Sympetrum madidum (Red-veined Meadowhawk). Local and uncommon throughout lowlands to 4200' in mountains. Small ponds and slow streams. 9 May-21 Sep.
- Sympetrum obtrusum (White-faced Meadowhawk). Common throughout lowlands and to 4200' in mountains; not known from Blue Mountains. Ponds and lakes with associated meadows. 24 Jun-1 Nov.
- Sympetrum pallipes (Striped Meadowhawk). Common throughout lowlands and to 4000' in mountains. Ponds and lakes with associated meadows, often seasonal; abundant in coastal dune ponds. 11 Jun-10 Nov.
- Sympetrum semicinctum Band-winged Meadowhawk. Common throughout E lowlands, especially Columbia Basin, to 2500'. Resident near Randle, Lewis County, but several other records W presumably of wandering individuals (up to 5700'). Ponds and lakes, many foraging and in tandem pairs far from water. 18 Jun-31 Oct.
- Sympetrum vicinum (Autumn Meadowhawk). Locally common in forested lowlands N and W and to 2300' at edge of Blue Mountains. Ponds and lakes with dense emergent vegetation. As elsewhere in its range, latest-flying dragonfly in Washington. 10 Jul-4 Dec.
- Tramea lacerata (Black Saddlebags). Common in Columbia Basin lowlands up to 2000', local in W lowlands. Ponds and lakes. 14 Jun-2 Oct.