DragonflyPix

Keeled Skimmer (Orthetrum coerulescens)

• English name: Keeled Skimmer
• German name: Kleiner Blaupfeil
• French name: Orthétrum bleuissant
• Dutch name: Beekoeverlibel
• Swedish name: Mindre sjötrollslända
• Norwegian name: Liten blålibelle
• Finnish name: Hoikkasinikorento
• Danish name: Lille blåpil
• Italian name: Frecciazzurra minore
• Czech name: vážka žlutoskvrnná
• Slovenian name: Mali modrač
• Bulgarian name: Бледо синилниче

Keeled Skimmer (Orthetrum coerulescens)

Not present
Present before 1990
Present after 1990

Present before and after 1990
Present after 2015

Distribution map Orthetrum coerulescens

Map data based on J.-P. Boudot & V. J. Kalkman (eds.),
Atlas of the European Dragonflies and Damselflies


General • a fairly small species of central and especially southern Europe; absent from the far north
Classification • suborder: Anisoptera (dragonflies); family: Libellulidae
Conservation status • IUCN Red List Europe: Least Concern
Scientific name Orthetrum coerulescens (Fabricius, 1798)
Distribution • click or tap the Map button above
Notes • libellulids are 'sitters': males spend a lot of time perched at the water's edge, waiting for females
  ➤ noticeably smaller than O. brunneum, with which it often co-occurs in the South
  • seldom sits on the ground
  • immature animals are orange-brown
Habitat • small running waters but also lakes
Dimensions • typical body length: 36-45 mm; hindwing: 28-33 mm
Both sexesWings• for wing venation details click or tap here
MaleHead➤ the face is beige-brown
 Thorax➤ the thorax is unmarked brown (but may be pruinescent in the subspecies O. c. anceps)
 Abdomen• the abdomen is entirely pruinescent light blue
FemaleThorax• the thorax is yellow-brown with pale antehumeral stripes
 Abdomen• the abdomen is yellow-brown with a black mid-dorsal line
Photographs • most of our photos below were made in Tuscany and the south of Italy

Line DrawingLineDrawing: the male's wings and the female's abdomen in dorsal view.

Orthetrum brunneum (left) and O. coerulescens (right); front wing
O. brunneum typically has 5-7 doubled cells between IR3 and Rspl.
O. coerulescens typically has none.

Orthetrum brunneum (left) and O. coerulescens (right); head, male
In male O. brunneum the face is whitish pale blue.
In male O. coerulescens it is beige-brown.

Keeled Skimmer (Orthetrum coerulescens)
Male wings in dorsal view
Drawing by Ruth Ilka Nüß
© 2013 Lehmann & Nüß and DragonflyPix.com

Keeled Skimmer (Orthetrum coerulescens)
Female abdomen in dorsal view
Drawing by Ruth Ilka Nüß
© 2013 Lehmann & Nüß and DragonflyPix.com

Click on a thumbnail to display the photograph (at 1200 x 800 pixels) in a new window.

Orthetrum coerulescens, thumbnail 1 / 20
Keeled Skimmer (Orthetrum coerulescens) ♀

1 / 20; PhotoID: Dr175 03/05/2013 12:25 Italy F8 1/180 180mm ISO200 Canon7D -Crop -Flash MF
Orthetrum coerulescens, thumbnail 2 / 20
Keeled Skimmer (Orthetrum coerulescens) ♀

2 / 20; PhotoID: Dr176 31/07/2015 13:02 Italy F8 1/80 180mm ISO200 Canon7D2 -Crop -Flash MF
Orthetrum coerulescens, thumbnail 3 / 20
Keeled Skimmer (Orthetrum coerulescens) ♂

3 / 20; PhotoID: Dr179 05/06/2009 16:38 Turkey F5.6 1/250 180mm ISO100 Canon50D -Crop -Flash MF
Orthetrum coerulescens, thumbnail 4 / 20
Keeled Skimmer (Orthetrum coerulescens) ♂

4 / 20; PhotoID: Dr183 06/08/2015 15:10 Italy F8 1/80 180mm ISO200 Canon7D2 -Crop -Flash MF
Orthetrum coerulescens, thumbnail 5 / 20
Keeled Skimmer (Orthetrum coerulescens) ♂

5 / 20; PhotoID: Dr184 26/06/2013 09:43 Italy F8 1/180 180mm ISO200 Canon7D -Crop -Flash MF
Orthetrum coerulescens, thumbnail 6 / 20
Keeled Skimmer (Orthetrum coerulescens) ♂

6 / 20; PhotoID: Dr218 10/07/2014 14:41 Italy F8 1/180 180mm ISO200 Canon7D -Crop -Flash MF
Orthetrum coerulescens, thumbnail 7 / 20
Keeled Skimmer (Orthetrum coerulescens) ♂

7 / 20; PhotoID: Dr223 16/06/2014 11:55 Italy F8 1/125 180mm ISO200 Canon7D -Crop -Flash MF
Orthetrum coerulescens, thumbnail 8 / 20
Keeled Skimmer (Orthetrum coerulescens) ♂

8 / 20; PhotoID: Dr229 29/07/2016 13:31 Italy F8 1/320 150mm ISO200 Canon7D2 -Crop -Flash MF
Orthetrum coerulescens, thumbnail 9 / 20
Keeled Skimmer (Orthetrum coerulescens) ⚤

9 / 20; PhotoID: Dr230 06/09/2015 14:19 Italy F8 1/320 180mm ISO200 Canon7D2 -Crop -Flash MF
Orthetrum coerulescens, thumbnail 10 / 20
Keeled Skimmer (Orthetrum coerulescens) ♀

10 / 20; PhotoID: Dr240 11/06/2015 16:24 Spain F8 1/500 180mm ISO400 Canon7D2 -Crop -Flash MF
Orthetrum coerulescens, thumbnail 11 / 20
Keeled Skimmer (Orthetrum coerulescens) ♀

11 / 20; PhotoID: Dr241 25/07/2014 15:23 Italy F8 1/180 180mm ISO200 Canon7D -Crop -Flash MF
Orthetrum coerulescens, thumbnail 12 / 20
Keeled Skimmer (Orthetrum coerulescens) ♀

12 / 20; PhotoID: Dr242 17/05/2009 11:52 Italy F8 1/90 180mm ISO100 Canon50D -Crop -Flash MF
Orthetrum coerulescens, thumbnail 13 / 20
Keeled Skimmer (Orthetrum coerulescens) ♂

13 / 20; PhotoID: Dr269 06/07/2005 11:56 Italy F5.6 1/180 180mm ISO100 Canon10D -Crop -Flash MF
Orthetrum coerulescens, thumbnail 14 / 20
Keeled Skimmer (Orthetrum coerulescens) ♀

14 / 20; PhotoID: Dr270 11/06/2015 17:09 Spain F8 1/400 180mm ISO400 Canon7D2 -Crop -Flash MF
Orthetrum coerulescens, thumbnail 15 / 20
Keeled Skimmer (Orthetrum coerulescens) ♂

15 / 20; PhotoID: Dr271 29/08/2014 16:46 Italy F8 1/250 180mm ISO200 Canon7D -Crop -Flash MF
Orthetrum coerulescens, thumbnail 16 / 20
Keeled Skimmer (Orthetrum coerulescens) ⚤

16 / 20; PhotoID: Dr285 20/08/2014 14:20 Italy F8 1/250 180mm ISO200 Canon7D -Crop -Flash MF
Orthetrum coerulescens, thumbnail 17 / 20
Keeled Skimmer (Orthetrum coerulescens) ♂

17 / 20; PhotoID: Dr422 31/05/2019 11:28 Turkey F8 1/320 180mm ISO200 Canon7D2 -Crop -Flash MF
Orthetrum coerulescens, thumbnail 18 / 20
Keeled Skimmer (Orthetrum coerulescens) ♂

18 / 20; PhotoID: Dr436 17/05/2016 10:30 Cyprus F8 1/200 180mm ISO200 Canon7D2 -Crop -Flash MF
Orthetrum coerulescens, thumbnail 19 / 20
Keeled Skimmer (Orthetrum coerulescens) ♂

19 / 20; PhotoID: Dr437 01/06/2019 16:26 Turkey F8 1/640 180mm ISO400 Canon7D2 -Crop -Flash MF
Orthetrum coerulescens, thumbnail 20 / 20
Keeled Skimmer (Orthetrum coerulescens) ♂

20 / 20; PhotoID: Dr438 12/08/2015 14:55 Italy F8 1/250 180mm ISO200 Canon7D2 -Crop -Flash MF