Half-banded Toper (Sympetrum semicinctum)

Half-banded Toper (Sympetrum semicinctum)

The Half-banded Toper (Sympetrum semicinctum) is in the Libellulidae (Skimmers) Family of Odonata (Dragonflies and Damselflies). This insect is considered scarce by some authorities because it is usually only found in unpolluted  marshy areas close to deep water.

The Half-banded Toper is about 1¾ inches (4.5 centimeters) long with a wingspan of about two inches (five centimeters). The male, pictured above flying over French Hill Pond, has a reddish-brown head and thorax and bright red abdomen. The last two or three segments of the abdomen have black spots on each side. The female has an olive green body. Both sexes have transparent wings that are somewhat yellow near the body. The fore wings may be totally clear.

These insects form mated pairs for breeding purposes. The female lays her eggs by flying tandem with the male just above the water with her abdomen tip in the water.

The young, called "naiads," are up to ⅝ inches  (1.5 centimeters) long and resemble tiny, adult Odonta without wings. These naiads eat small aquatic insects. Naiads become adults by September. Adults may be seen flying as late as October in the area of French Hill Pond.

The adult Half-banded Topers eat flying insects.

These insects do not bite but consume biting insects making them very beneficial.

 

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