Species of the Week: The Elfin Skimmer

This week’s #SpeciesOfTheWeek is the smallest dragonfly in North America, the Elfin Skimmer (Nannothemis bella). With a body length of 18-20 mm and a wingspan of 10-15 mm, this diminutive dragonfly is smaller than most damselflies. Like all other dragonflies, Elfin Skimmers are sexually dimorphic. Males have a blue-grey body, while females have a black body with yellow stripes on the thorax and yellow bands on the abdomen. Due to their small size, females may be mistaken for wasps. Elfin skimmers reproduce in sphagnum bogs, and adults rarely travel more than a couple of hundred meters from the bog in which they hatched. They will fly at the water’s edge and in nearby vegetation, frequently perching on low shrubs and sedges. In Ontario, the flight season is from May to August. This species was first discovered in the park in 2017, but was not seen again until 2021! A larger population was discovered this June on the Silver Queen Mine Trail. Keep a keen eye out when hiking this area, and you just might see this small skimmer!

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