Twelve-spotted skimmers (Libellula pulchella) are common in most of the United States, Southern Canada and into Mexico. They can be found near ponds, lakes and the broad, slow portions of rivers.
As the name suggests, this dragonfly had twelve brown spots on its wings (3 spots x 4 wings = 12). The head and thorax are a chocolate to light brown and the abdomen is greyish brown. Males develop a bluish-white bloom (pruinosity) on the abdomen, have a milky white cast or spots between the brown wing spots and the yellow markings on the abdomen are faint and not contiguous. Because the pictured twelve-spotted skimmer has a continuous yellow stripe on the side and no white on the wings it can be identified as a female.
Adult twelve-spotted skimmers eat small insects caught in flight. The naiads (larval stage) feed on aquatic invertebrates.
Female twelve-spotted skimmers drip their eggs singly by dipping their abdomen into the water. They may also settle on plants and attach their eggs on the stem close to the water surface.
This female twelve-spotted skimmer was perched along Ash Creek near the Lower Campground east of Adin CA (Modoc County).