Black-tailed skimmer

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Black-tailed skimmer
Black-tailed Skimmer.jpg
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Odonata
Suborder: Anisoptera
Family: Libellulidae
Genus: Orthetrum
Species: O. cancellatum
Binomial name
Orthetrum cancellatum
(Linnaeus, 1758)

The black-tailed skimmer, Orthetrum cancellatum, is a European and Asian dragonfly. It occurs nearly all over Europe except northern UK and Scandinavia; to the east, the range extends to Kashmir and Mongolia.

The adult male has a blue abdomen with a black tip and transparent wings, and the female has a yellow (later: brown) body with black bands along the abdomen and transparent wings. Even the immature males look that way.

This species has expanded its range, assisted by the creation of gravel pits which give it the extensive open unvegetated areas it prefers. It was first recorded in Great Britain in Essex in 1934. It is decreasing rapidly in the Maltese Islands.


  • "Orthetrum cancellatum". British Dragonfly Society. Retrieved 14 October 2010. 
  • Klaas-Douwe B Dijkstra, Richard Lewington, 2006: Field Guide to the Dragonflies of Britain and Europe. British Wildlife Publishing, Gillingham.
  • A. Sciberras, 2008: A Contribution To The Knowledge Of Odonata In The Maltese Islands. The Central Mediterranean Naturalist 4(4): 275-288.