Paltothemis lineatipes
Red Rock Skimmer is a beautiful dragon that lives along rocky streams in the foothills. Colorful males sit on sunny rocks, waiting for females.
Despite their very bright colors – deep scarlet body with black bands on the abdomen – males can be amazingly well camouflaged among the granite and limestone rocks. They have clear wings except for an extensive rusty wash on the basal third of each wing.
Photo (top) 5 Aug 2006 Arroyo Seco River
Photo (just above left) 9 Sep 2006 N fork, San Antonio River

A female Red Rock Skimmer has yet to be photographed in MTY, but this is just a matter of time. Females are very different from males and look almost colorless and ghostlike in flight. The body is mottled in light gray and dark, with clear wings without any colored wash, and brown eyes; see Manolis (2003) for i.d. information.

So far, Red Rock Skimmer has been found only along the Arroyo Seco and San Antonio Rivers, in open and rather arid foothills between 500–1000' in elevation. Both rivers are quite rocky and sunlit, although the Arroyo Seco is broader and has a stronger current than where the skimmer is known from the San Antonio. The species likely occurs in other similar situations in MTY foothills. Males either sit on rocks, awaiting females, or patrol short stretches of the river (Manolis 2003).

The map shows the two locales at which Red Rock Skimmer has been recorded so far. These are stretches of rocky, open rivers in arid foothills on the Arroyo Seco & upper San Antonio Rivers. On the Arroyo Seco, it is known from a stretch of 10 miles or more.

In MTY the records to date range from 28 Apr–23Sep. Elsewhere in California, flight dates range from March to November (Manolis 2003).


Literature cited:
  • Manolis, T. 2003. Dragonflies and Damselflies of California. Univ. of Calif. Press, Berkeley.
Web resources:
Major identification web sites with much information on California odes include: For sites with excellent photos to compare for identification or to simply enjoy, see: Many of these sites have links to other useful pages. Kathy Biggs's site is particularly useful in her selection of links.

All photos © Don Roberson 2007


Page created 20 Mar 2007, revised 16 May 007