Seaside Dragonlet - Erythrodiplax berenice (Drury, 1770)

Range & Habitat:
The Seaside Dragonlet is known from the Coastal Plain with historical records from the northern Piedmont. Most records are from coastal salt marshes but Barber (1994) reported it from freshwater bogs. Two inland records may well represent strays. It ranges south to Mexico and Venezuela and north to the Canadian Maritimes.

This species is most commonly encountered at salt marshes and brackish tidal estuaries but has been found at a few freshwater ponds and marshes. It is often found with Big Bluet, Rambur’s Forktail and Needham’s Skimmer.

Flight Season:
Early Date: 16 May
Late Date: 15 September

Flight season charts created from records in the official database maintained by Allen Barlow.

Male Lateral - - Photo by Allen Barlow
Click on a thumbnail to view full-size photo
1.3”. Males darken rapidly starting at the thorax with the abdomen following. The male’s wings are un-marked. Females possess a spout-like ovipositor and have three distinct forms. The beautiful Spot-winged Form has a yellow thorax with black stripes. The abdomen darkens before the thorax. The wings have basal and nodal brown spots. This form rarely becomes all dark. The abdomen of the Un-spotted Form darkens before the thorax. The thorax of the Male-like form darkens before the abdomen. These last two forms lack wing markings. Both eventually become all black and indistinguishable from one another.

The Seaside Dragonlet behaves like most Meadowhawks. This species perches on stems and occasionally flat on the ground. Pairs lay eggs in tandem. Large congregations of ovipositting pairs can be observed at suitable sites.

The larger Blue Dasher and smaller Little Blue Dragonlet (1 NJ record) are paler blue with a black tip to the abdomen. Small Pennants are similar but most have basal wing markings and are generally not found in brackish habitats

Conservation Status:
State: S4S5 Apparently to demonstrably secure in New Jersey
Global: G5 Secure globally, but possibly rare in parts of its range