Dragonflies are widely considered to be harbingers of change, maturity, and self-realization. They are some of the most common flying insect species (as common as the tiger bee fly) in the wild, and you are sure to have met a couple of dragonflies when out on a picnic or visiting a farm. They are usually completely harmless and do not bite or sting humans. However, beware that larger dragonflies can bite if you try and hold them in your palms but should not be able to break the skin. The Celithimis group of dragonflies are commonly known to us as pennants. The most readily found species among the pennants is the Halloween pennant (Celithemis eponina), named so because of their bright orange-colored wings with dark brown bands, reminiscent of the colors of October's spooky festival. Female Halloween pennants have several yellow markings around their eyes, and the male's yellow markings eventually redden as they mature. The Halloween dragonfly species is often mistaken for a butterfly when it is spotted perched on vegetation near a river. However, they are completely different species of insect, with distinct features and behaviors. Make sure to read on for some amazing Halloween pennant dragonfly facts!
The Halloween pennant (Celithemis eponina) is an insect, a member of the Libellulidae, the largest family of dragonflies in biological classification convention.
It is an insect that belongs to the motley crew phylum of animals called arthropods and of the order Odonata.
While the exact number of an insect is practically impossible to know for sure, seeing as they are neither currently unnaturally poached by humans nor is their habitat in any danger, they are abundantly found in North America's grasslands.
Their habitat consists of grassy areas near rivers or ponds.
Halloween pennants are found across Eastern North America, as far west as Colorado and as far east as Florida. In the north, its distribution stretches all the way up to southern Canada.
Like most other dragonflies, this species too lives in swarms of around 10 - 15 but will migrate as per the climate on their own.
While the exact lifespan of the species known as Celithemis eponina to scientists has not been studied individually, they are considered to live around six months to a year, like most other species of dragonflies.
In the mating process, Celithemis eponina males attach their head to the abdomen of females using appendages that are made for the other, while the female curls her abdomen around to be in contact with the male genitalia. This position is called a wheel since the bodies of the two insects form a closed circle together. Once the fertilization process is completed, the female is ready to lay her eggs in water. The whole time, the male has his head attached to the female thorax: this system of mating is called oviposition. The male was not observed defending the space where the female laid eggs, a marked difference from their usually territorial cousins of the order Odonata.
While the species are Not Listed on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species, according to the Virginia-based Not-for-Profit organization NatureServe, they are a 'Secure' species. This is presumably because their habitat of Florida, Canada, and northern Colorado are not under threat as of now.
The body of the Celithemis eponina is largely dark brown or black. While males have reddish markings around their abdomen and face, females feature yellow markings of the same nature on their bodies. It has four separate wings in total. These are vital life-saving body parts for the insect, and any adult with even a single damaged wing dies quickly.
Insects are not exactly the cutest animals out there, and dragonflies or pennants are no exception. Sure, they can be fun to mess around with and try and follow through a grassland, but one simply does not keep a pennant for a pet.
Dragonflies have a variety of ways of communicating with each other. They buzz almost perpetually and can use their brightly colored wing to drive away predators. This is also true for the Celithemis eponina or Halloween pennants, who also use their antennae and chemical signals to communicate information and social status.
The wingspan of both the male and female adult Halloween pennant dragonfly is around 3 in (7.5 cm), and its length from head to the abdomen of an adult is 1.5 in (3.8 cm). At that size, they are one of the largest dragonfly species out there. However, they are almost exactly the same size as the newly discovered poodle moth and eight times smaller than the Chuck Will's widow, which would see Halloween pennants as a tasty little snack.
The range of maximum flight speed of a dragonfly is 22-34 mph (35.4-54.7 kph), and its usual cruising speed during relaxed flight is 10 mph (16.1 kph). They can also fly backward at just 3% of their forward flight speed, around 3 mph (4.8 kph).
They weigh a measly 0.01 oz (400 mg), which is not surprising for the small insect that it is.
Both males and females are referred to by the same name, Halloween pennant, or Celithemis eponina.
A baby dragonfly is called a nymph or naiad, so a baby Celithemis eponina could be called a Halloween Nymph or a Halloween Naiad!
A dragonfly can eat a variety of insects, from flies, midges, fleas, and bees. The main component of their diet is the mosquito: they are known to be able to eat around a hundred mosquitos every single day!
No, Halloween pennant dragonflies, or almost every species of dragonfly, for that matter, are not poisonous. Their sting is barely strong enough to break the skin to draw blood.
No, insects are not exactly the most popular pets, and with good reason. Even if you could get them in captivity, properly feeding a dragonfly would be a mammoth task. Some animals are just for us to admire in their natural setting.
Kidadl Advisory: All pets should only be bought from a reputable source. It is recommended that as a potential pet owner you carry out your own research prior to deciding on your pet of choice. Being a pet owner is very rewarding but it also involves commitment, time and money. Ensure that your pet choice complies with the legislation in your state and/or country. You must never take animals from the wild or disturb their habitat. Please check that the pet you are considering buying is not an endangered species, or listed on the CITES list, and has not been taken from the wild for the pet trade.
As a nymph, like any other dragonfly, the Halloween pennant is aquatic! It feeds on aquatic vegetation and insects after it hatches from the eggs its mother lays in still bodies of water (like ponds).
Insects come in a wide range of colors, and the Halloween pennant features bright orange wings with brown stripes. The color orange is often associated with the festival of Halloween, thus causing the Celithemis eponina to commonly be referred to as it is.
Insects form an extremely important part of any ecosystem due to their ability to perform pollination: the process of transferring pollen (the male reproductive material) from the male part of a plant to the female part of the plant, thus facilitating fertilization and the perpetuation of plant life on the planet. Halloween pennants most likely perform pollination for a variety of food and grain crops like apple, peach, and flax.
Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! For more relatable content, check out these morpho butterfly facts and fairyfly facts pages.
You can even occupy yourself at home by drawing one on our free printable halloween pennant coloring pages.