Orthetrum brunneum

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Orthetrum brunneum
Southern skimmer (Orthetrum brunneum) male Bulgaria.jpg
Southern skimmer (Orthetrum brunneum) female Bulgaria.jpg
both in Bulgaria
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Odonata
Family: Libellulidae
Genus: Orthetrum
Species: O. brunneum
Binomial name
Orthetrum brunneum
(Fonscolombe, 1837)
  • Libellula brunnea Fonscolombe, 1837

Orthetrum brunneum, the southern skimmer, is a species of 'skimmers' belonging to the family Libellulidae. This 'skimmer' is present in most of Europe.

O. brunneum in copula

The adults grow up to 40–45 millimetres (1.6–1.8 in) long. Their dimensions on average are larger than in Orthetrum coerulescens. They can be encountered from mid June through late August in the immediate vicinity of quiet rivers or close to stagnant and shallow waters, lying on a well sunny ground. Their life cycle lasts two or three years.

The thorax and the abdomen are pale blue in males, yellowish-brown or greyish-brown in females. The middorsal line is black. The wings are hyaline, with yellow or pale brown pterostigma. The wingspan reaches 66–70 millimetres (2.6–2.8 in).


  • Orthetrum brunneum var. brunneum (Fonscolombe, 1837)
  • Orthetrum brunneum var. cycnos (Sélys, 1848)

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