DragonflyPix

Southern Skimmer (Orthetrum brunneum)

• English name: Southern Skimmer
• German name: Südlicher Blaupfeil
• French name: Orthétrum brun
• Dutch name: Zuidelijke oeverlibel
• Swedish name: Blåpannad sjötrollslända
• Norwegian name: N/A
• Finnish name: Silosinikorento
• Danish name: Sydlig blåpil
• Italian name: Frecciazzurra celeste
• Czech name: vážka hnědoskvrnná
• Slovenian name: Sinji modrač
• Bulgarian name: Речно синилниче

Southern Skimmer (Orthetrum brunneum)

Not present
Present before 1990
Present after 1990

Present before and after 1990
Present after 2015

Distribution map Orthetrum brunneum

Map data based on J.-P. Boudot & V. J. Kalkman (eds.),
Atlas of the European Dragonflies and Damselflies


General • a medium-sized species of central and especially southern Europe; absent from the far north
Classification • suborder: Anisoptera (dragonflies); family: Libellulidae
Conservation status • IUCN Red List Europe: Least Concern
Scientific name Orthetrum brunneum (Fonscolombe, 1837)
Distribution • click or tap the Map button above
Notes • libellulids are 'sitters': males spend a lot of time perched at the water's edge, waiting for females
  ➤ noticeably larger than O. coerulescens, with which it often co-occurs in the South
  • often sits on (pebbles on) the ground
  • immature animals are beige-yellow, with white bands on the side of the thorax
Habitat • small, sunny streams
Dimensions • typical body length: 41-49 mm; hindwing: 33-37 mm
Both sexesWings• for wing venation details click or tap here
MaleHead➤ the face is a whitish pale blue
 Thorax➤ the thorax is entirely pruinescent light blue; the white bands on the side may still be visible
 Abdomen• the abdomen is entirely pruinescent light blue
FemaleThorax• the thorax is yellow-brown with white bands on the side
 Abdomen• the abdomen is yellow-brown with a black mid-dorsal line
Photographs • nearly all of our photos below were made in Tuscany and the south of Italy

Line DrawingLineDrawing: the male's wings in dorsal view.

Orthetrum brunneum (left) and O. coerulescens (right); front wing
O. brunneum typically has 5-7 doubled cells between IR3 and Rspl.
O. coerulescens typically has none.

Orthetrum brunneum (left) and O. coerulescens (right); head, male
In male O. brunneum the face is whitish pale blue.
In male O. coerulescens it is beige-brown.

Southern Skimmer (Orthetrum brunneum)
Male wings in dorsal view
Drawing by Ruth Ilka Nüß
© 2013 Lehmann & Nüß and DragonflyPix.com

Click on a thumbnail to display the photograph (at 1200 x 800 pixels) in a new window.

Orthetrum brunneum, thumbnail 1 / 20
Southern Skimmer (Orthetrum brunneum) ⚤

1 / 20; PhotoID: Dr007 18/08/2014 16:13 Italy F8 1/750 180mm ISO200 Canon7D -Crop -Flash MF
Orthetrum brunneum, thumbnail 2 / 20
Southern Skimmer (Orthetrum brunneum) ♂

2 / 20; PhotoID: Dr008 04/08/2015 16:23 Italy F8 1/200 180mm ISO200 Canon7D2 -Crop -Flash MF
Orthetrum brunneum, thumbnail 3 / 20
Southern Skimmer (Orthetrum brunneum) ♀

3 / 20; PhotoID: Dr009 12/09/2016 12:19 Italy F8 1/400 180mm ISO200 Canon7D2 -Crop -Flash MF
Orthetrum brunneum, thumbnail 4 / 20
Southern Skimmer (Orthetrum brunneum) ♂

4 / 20; PhotoID: Dr010 14/06/2010 10:26 Italy F8 1/350 180mm ISO100 Canon7D -Crop -Flash MF
Orthetrum brunneum, thumbnail 5 / 20
Southern Skimmer (Orthetrum brunneum) ♂

5 / 20; PhotoID: Dr011 22/06/2010 12:07 Italy F8 1/350 180mm ISO100 Canon7D -Crop -Flash MF
Orthetrum brunneum, thumbnail 6 / 20
Southern Skimmer (Orthetrum brunneum) ♂

6 / 20; PhotoID: Dr109 09/07/2007 15:45 Italy F8 1/400 180mm ISO100 Canon30D -Crop -Flash MF
Orthetrum brunneum, thumbnail 7 / 20
Southern Skimmer (Orthetrum brunneum) ♂

7 / 20; PhotoID: Dr110 29/05/2017 10:33 Italy F8 1/800 180mm ISO200 Canon7D2 -Crop -Flash MF
Orthetrum brunneum, thumbnail 8 / 20
Southern Skimmer (Orthetrum brunneum) ⚤

8 / 20; PhotoID: Dr112 14/06/2012 15:14 Spain F10 1/400 180mm ISO200 Canon7D -Crop -Flash MF
Orthetrum brunneum, thumbnail 9 / 20
Southern Skimmer (Orthetrum brunneum) ♀

9 / 20; PhotoID: Dr113 22/06/2010 11:20 Italy F8 1/350 180mm ISO200 Canon7D -Crop -Flash MF
Orthetrum brunneum, thumbnail 10 / 20
Southern Skimmer (Orthetrum brunneum) ⚤

10 / 20; PhotoID: Dr114 28/06/2005 11:57 Italy F5.6 1/500 180mm ISO200 Canon10D -Crop -Flash MF
Orthetrum brunneum, thumbnail 11 / 20
Southern Skimmer (Orthetrum brunneum) ♂

11 / 20; PhotoID: Dr115 05/08/2010 15:38 Italy F8 1/500 180mm ISO200 Canon7D -Crop -Flash MF
Orthetrum brunneum, thumbnail 12 / 20
Southern Skimmer (Orthetrum brunneum) ♂

12 / 20; PhotoID: Dr116 27/08/2018 13:17 Italy F8 1/320 180mm ISO200 Canon7D2 -Crop -Flash MF
Orthetrum brunneum, thumbnail 13 / 20
Southern Skimmer (Orthetrum brunneum) ♂

13 / 20; PhotoID: Dr125 01/09/2010 14:05 Italy F8 1/320 180mm ISO200 Canon7D -Crop -Flash MF
Orthetrum brunneum, thumbnail 14 / 20
Southern Skimmer (Orthetrum brunneum) ♂

14 / 20; PhotoID: Dr126 22/06/2010 12:21 Italy F8 1/500 180mm ISO200 Canon7D -Crop -Flash MF
Orthetrum brunneum, thumbnail 15 / 20
Southern Skimmer (Orthetrum brunneum) ⚤

15 / 20; PhotoID: Dr127 20/07/2005 16:00 Italy F5.6 1/500 180mm ISO100 Canon10D -Crop -Flash MF
Orthetrum brunneum, thumbnail 16 / 20
Southern Skimmer (Orthetrum brunneum) ♀

16 / 20; PhotoID: Dr177 30/08/2018 13:36 Italy F8 1/400 180mm ISO200 Canon7D2 -Crop -Flash MF
Orthetrum brunneum, thumbnail 17 / 20
Southern Skimmer (Orthetrum brunneum) ♂

17 / 20; PhotoID: Dr178 11/07/2016 17:07 Italy F8 1/250 180mm ISO200 Canon7D2 -Crop -Flash MF
Orthetrum brunneum, thumbnail 18 / 20
Southern Skimmer (Orthetrum brunneum) ♂

18 / 20; PhotoID: Dr186 12/08/2014 11:44 Italy F8 1/250 180mm ISO200 Canon7D -Crop -Flash MF
Orthetrum brunneum, thumbnail 19 / 20
Southern Skimmer (Orthetrum brunneum) ♂

19 / 20; PhotoID: Dr187 12/07/2016 15:22 Italy F8 1/400 180mm ISO200 Canon7D2 -Crop -Flash MF
Orthetrum brunneum, thumbnail 20 / 20
Southern Skimmer (Orthetrum brunneum) ♂

20 / 20; PhotoID: Dr188 01/09/2010 14:27 Italy F8 1/500 180mm ISO200 Canon7D -Crop -Flash MF