Flame Skimmer

Photo © Karen Straus/San Diego Audubon Society

Quick Facts

  • Flame skimmers like to live near warm ponds, streams, and hot springs.
  • Females often lay their eggs in multiple places as a safeguard against their babies competing with each other for resources.
  • In their early life as Nymphs, they hunt small fish, larvae, and tadpoles.

This beautiful dragonfly is a voracious carnivore that eats other insects. Its compound eyes are made up of 30,000 lenses, so it has excellent vision. It can beat its two pairs of wings separately or together. Like a helicopter, it can turn in mid-air, hover, and fly backward. Dragonflies rest with their wings spread out. Damselflies look similar to dragonflies but are much weaker and less adept fliers. They rest with their wings folded together. Female dragonflies lay their eggs in water. The larvae have gills and live underwater, eating other insect larvae, tadpoles, and small fish. They grow by molting. After the last molt, the adult dragonfly emerges. Both dragonflies and damselflies were around before the dinosaurs.


Do Flame Skimmers bite?

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These dragonflies usually do not bite or sting humans, but if held by the abdomen, they may attempt to bite to escape.