Fun Widow Skimmer Facts For Kids

Martha Martins
Oct 20, 2022 By Martha Martins
Originally Published on Sep 03, 2021
Edited by Jacob Fitzbright
The widow skimmer is also known as king skimmer

Dragonflies are the first winged insects to have developed 300 million years ago. They have a wingspan of up to two feet.

Do you want to know how the name widow skimmer was given to these dragonflies? It is because the mature male leaves the female once she lays eggs under the water during the breeding season.

They also have another feature because of which they are called widow skimmers, and that is a dark basal area on each of the four wings that looks like a widow's black shawl. Widow skimmers are from the Libellulidae family and the Libellula genus.

Each wing has white patches, and their brown bodies increase as they get older. The end of the wings has a more traditional semi-transparent band.

Apart from the widow skimmer, you can check out glow-worm facts and yellow fly facts.

Widow Skimmer Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a widow skimmer?

Widow skimmers (Libellula luctuosa) are also known as king skimmers and belong to the group of dragonflies. It typically has three patterns on its wings.

No other dragonfly has wings like the widow skimmer because the wing is dark brown to black in color, followed by a white band and broad dark wing patches at the base with a one-inch abdomen. They have large eyes which meet in the middle area of their head.

What class of animal does a widow skimmer belong to?

The widow skimmer (Libellula luctuosa) belongs to the Insecta class and the order Odonata which are identified by their jagged teeth. Odonata means 'toothed one' in Greek.

How many widow skimmers are there in the world?

There are more than 5,000 known species of common dragonflies, as per few studies. But, unfortunately, there is no specific information about the population of the widow skimmer.

Where does a widow skimmer live?

The species of widow skimmer are commonly found across the United States except for the Rocky Mountains. However, the range of widow skimmer spreads southward across the Mexican border. Manitoba, Quebec, Ontario, and Nova Scotia are the four provinces in Canada where the widow skimmer is reported to have been seen.

What is a widow skimmer's habitat?

The habitat of widow skimmers (Libellula luctuosa) is near warm waters such as ponds, lakes, lagoons, streams, marshes, and creeks. However, they are also commonly found in muddy areas and are widely spread in Wisconsin.

Who do widow skimmers live with?

The male adult species are solitary. However, the male species lives with the egg-laying female species during the reproduction season, and then it leaves the female species once the females lay eggs.

How long does a widow skimmer live?

The lifespan of some adult widow skimmers is only a few weeks, and some other widow skimmers may live up to a year.

How do they reproduce?

The reproduction process of the widow skimmer dragonfly is also known as a Tandem. During reproduction, they will form a heart or wheel shape.

Unlike some other species of dragonflies, the male species do not guard female species and leave them once the eggs are laid under the water. A nymph is the initial stage of the life cycle of a dragonfly once it hatches from its eggs.

They live under the water, and it looks similar to a squat bug or an alien creature. It takes several years for the nymphs to complete this nymph stage.

Finally, it will emerge from the water and start crawling on land, and will cling to a shrub or low plants. In late summer, they molt again and will emerge as adults.

What is their conservation status?

The conservation status of Widow skimmer (Libellula luctuosa) is under the Least Concern category in the ICUN Red List. This is because they are plenty in number and are not endangered.

Widow Skimmer Fun Facts

What do widow skimmers look like?

The widow skimmer has a butterfly-like appearance.

The adults of widow skimmer have large eyes that are close together and meet in the middle area of the head. The adults have a white hue on their thorax and have 1 in (24-32 mm) abdomen size.

The widow skimmer also has three pairs of black-colored legs.

They have dark brown to black basal wings, followed by a white-colored band, and they keep them extended over their bodies. The widow skimmer has two types of wings; forewings and hindwings, and in both sexes, wings are marked with black basal bands.

Immature males and females look similar to each other. They have the same brown-colored wing bands as the adult males, but not the white border around the wings. The female has yellow stripes with a brown band over her abdomen.

How cute are they?

The dragonfly species of widow skimmer(Libellula luctuosa) has a large bulky steely blue body area with a large head, and it is a picturesque dragonfly.

How do they communicate?

So far, no information about the communication of the widow skimmer is available. However, the widow skimmer may communicate like a common dragonfly, chemically or by touching their mate during breeding.

How big is a widow skimmer?

The widow skimmer (Libellula luctuosa) is a large dragonfly. The average length of widow skimmer dragonfly is less than 2 in (5.08 cm), 1.2-2.0 in (3.048-5.08 cm), and the length of the wingspan is approximately 1-1.5 in (2.54-3.81 cm).

How fast can a widow skimmer fly?

Widow skimmers are active fliers, and it is believed that the flight of widow skimmer is faster than other dragonfly species. They fly among marsh grasses, rushes, and the sedges. They fly to seize their food from the tip of tall grasses and wildflowers where they perch.

How much does a widow skimmer weigh?

There are no studies to indicate the exact weight of the widow skimmer.

What are the male and female names of the species?

Males are known as kings or drakes, and females are known as queens.

What would you call a baby widow skimmer?

A baby widow skimmer is called a nymph or larvae. They are also known as naiads.

What do they eat?

The adult widow skimmer eats small, soft-bodied flying insects like bees, spiders, hoverflies, flying ants, and mosquitoes. They catch their prey with their legs and use their fangs to feed on their prey. In the larval stage, naiads take in a variety of smaller aquatic insects.

Are they dangerous?

Widow skimmer dragonflies are not dangerous. They do not sting or bite anyone. However, the male widow skimmer will become quite aggressive and will chase and attack intruders when he detects them over its territories.

Would they make a good pet?

Widow skimmers are predators. However, they are beneficial to humans as they reduce harmful insects like mosquitoes, flies, gnats, and flying ants. Thus, we can make the widow skimmer our pet.

Did you know...

Dragonflies have a unique vision. The compound eyes have up to 30,000 facets and are placed in the center of their head. Each facet has an ommatidium or a different light-sensing organ, and they are arranged to give almost 360° field of vision except right behind them.

What is the difference between male and female widow skimmers?

The difference between the two sexes of widow skimmers is easily recognized by looking at their terminal appendages. The male dragonfly has darker large patches with black basal wing patches.

In addition, the shoulder and the abdomen are white, and the tails are in pruinose. But the female has slight changes in color as compared to the male. The female has brown basal wing patches and yellow stripes on her body.

How did the widow skimmer dragonfly get its name?

Unlike species of other dragonflies, the male widow skimmer species do not guard the egg-laying female species. Instead, once the female species lays eggs under the water, the male species leaves the female species.

Thus, the male species turns the female species into a widow. In addition, the wings have dark basal portions that look like a widow's black shawl. Hence, the species' name is the widow skimmer.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other arthropods from our common wasp facts and burying beetle facts pages.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable Widow skimmer coloring pages.

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Written by Martha Martins

Bachelor of Arts specializing in Linguistics

Martha Martins picture

Martha MartinsBachelor of Arts specializing in Linguistics

Martha is a full-time creative writer, content strategist, and aspiring screenwriter who communicates complex thoughts and ideas effectively. She has completed her Bachelor's in Linguistics from Nasarawa State University. As an enthusiast of public relations and communication, Martha is well-prepared to substantially impact your organization as your next content writer and strategist. Her dedication to her craft and commitment to delivering high-quality work enables her to create compelling content that resonates with audiences.

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