Pantala hymenaea
Spot-winged Glider is one of two "rainpool gliders" that frequent Monterey County. Although perhaps less common than the widespread Wandering Glider, this species does occur widely and is likely often overlooked. Alas, the only MTY photos to date are these of an individual that had just hit a car windshield and was deceased (the specimen is now in the Essig Museum collection at U.C. Berkeley).

Spot-winged Glider is a typically thin and broad-winged glider. There is a small dark patch on the hindwing, right at the edge of the body, but this can be quite difficult to see in flight. The face is red in mature males (e.g., this collected specimen). The abdomen tends to be darker and browner than the 'cheesy-yellow' abdomen of Wandering Glider, and it also has a more complex pattern of darker lines across it.

Spot-winged Gliders are usually on the wing, seemingly in constant search for prey. They forage typically from 6 ft to 100 ft off the ground, and often in swarms with Wandering Glider and sometimes saddlebags or darners. When they do perch, it is typically at the tip of a branch, 6 ft. or more off the ground (Manolis 2003).

In MTY, the species was first reported at the Big Sur River mouth, where Rob Fowler saw it almost daily during June-July 2004. Other records are from August 2006 when individuals or small parties were found widely at local river mouths and at Laguna Grande park in Seaside. The lone MTY specimen hit my car at the intersection of Reservation & Blanco, on the east edge of Marina, on 6 Aug 2006. In spring 2007, the species was seen at several sites in southern MTY.

The map shows the locations of selected records of Spot-winged Glider. It likely occurs in the lowlands throughout MTY. It seems to be regular, late in summer, at coastal river mouths (Salinas, Carmel, Big Sur). It also occurs in swarms of Wandering Gliders.

Elsewhere in California, flight dates range from March to October, with a peak from June through August (Manolis 2003). In MTY the records to date range from 17 March-31 August.

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