This family includes approximately 16 genera and more than 80 North American species. This is a fairly common and widespread group, found among debris or burrowing in both lentic and lotic habitats. Nymphs are easily identified by their rather thick antennae. Like other dragonflies, the adults and nymphs are predators. Nymphs bury in the sediment, partially hiding themselves to wait for prey to pass by, and then snatch them up with their arm-like labral mask. The adults typically fly low to the ground and only in bright sun.
Mid-Atlantic: up to 5
Upper Midwest: up to 1
Southeast: 2.7 - 8.7
Engulfer / Predator
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Order: Nymph with mask-like labium below chewing mouthparts. Wings developing in wing pads. Segmented legs present, each with two claws.
Family: Suborder Anisoptera (i.e., Dragonflies: stout body shape, head more narrow than thorax and abdomen, end of abdomen with 5 short pointed projections, external gills absent). Labial mask flattened, without hair on palm of inside of mask (premental setae) or usually without setae along margins of palpal lobes at end of mask. Ligula (distal margin of labial mask) without median cleft. Antennae each 4-segmented, although 4th segment usually small. Fore- and middle tarsi each 2 segmented. Mature larvae 23–40 mm long, rarely to 65 mm.