This is a group of 90 North American species, the most of any dragonfly family. Nymphs can be found in a variety of lentic habitats including wetlands, ponds, and ditches, as well as along the margins of slow-flowing lotic habitats. They can be found sprawling on the benthos or climbing plants and woody debris. Some species are extremely tolerant of low oxygen concentrations in the water as well as high alkalinity, and brackish water habitats. Nymphs can sometimes be used for fly-fishing in still water habitats. The adults seem to fly in rather unpredictable flight trajectories and tend to have wings patterned with pigment.
Mid-Atlantic: 4 - 9
Upper Midwest: 8 - 10
Midwest: up to 8.2
Southeast: 7.3 - 10
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 spoon-shaped, usually with hair inside palm of mask and along margins. Distal margin of each palpal lobe regularly and finely scalloped, each scallop 1/10 to 1/6 as high as long, each bearing at least 1 seta, and usually separated by shallow notches. Prementum without ventral medial groove at base. Hind femora usually not extending to posterior margin of abdominal segment 8. Abdomen elongate in dorsal view. Paraprocts (ventrolateral pair of spines) usually more than twice as long as cerci (dorsolateral pair of spines). Mature larvae 8–28 mm long.